Perth Catholics come together to support Ukraine

04 Apr 2022

By Jamie O'Brien

Catholic support for Ukraine.
Perth Ukrainian Catholic Parish Priest, Fr Ihor Holovko, with Archbishop Timothy Costelloe.
Fr Holovko spoke of the deep sadness of his people and the horror which is being visited upon them during Ash Wednesday Mass at Perth’s St Mary’s Cathedral, Wednesday 1 March 2022.
Photo: Michelle Tan.

Joining Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB for Ash Wednesday Mass, Ukrainian Parish Priest Fr Ihor Holovko spoke of the deep sadness of his people and the horror which is being visited upon them.

Speaking to the 150 people gathered, Maylands-based Fr Holovko asked for continued prayers, not only for the end of the war, but for the restoration of peace.

At the beginning of the Mass on Wednesday 1 March, Archbishop Costelloe highlighted that as the first reading for Ash Wednesday says, our God is one of tenderness and compassion.

“The images on our television screens of fathers, and some mothers, tenderly and tearfully kissing their young children goodbye as the adults prepare to defend their country, precisely for the sake of their children’s future, remind us, too, that tenderness and compassion are not signs of weakness but of courage and strength.

“We pray that the God of tenderness will give courage and strength to those whose lives and freedoms are under attack,” he said.

At the end of Mass, Father Ihor thanked everyone for the support for the people of Ukraine which has been so evident, not only in the Catholic community, but in the wider community of Perth and Western Australia. 

As the conflict intensified in the following days, Archbishop Costelloe encouraged the Perth Catholic community to pray for peace in Ukraine.

In a letter sent to parishes, Archbishop Costelloe said that, conscious of the teaching of Saint Paul “to pray without ceasing” (1Thess 5:17) and of the words of Jesus himself instructing us to “ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open to you” (Matt 7:7), he would like to encourage people to pray for peace in Ukraine.

“And for all those in that country, and beyond, who in so many different ways are enduring great suffering at this time,” Archbishop Costelloe said.

Archbishop Costelloe also composed a prayer with the sincere hope it will be prayed in parishes.

“You might also consider making the prayer available by projecting it on the screens in your church if you have such a facility, by reproducing it in the parish newsletter, or by making copies available for people to take home. 

“It is written as a prayer which can be prayed by individuals, by families and by parish and other communities.

Hundreds gather for prayer service at St Mary’s Cathedral

Hundreds gathered on Sunday 6 March on the grounds of St Mary’s Cathedral in a show of solidarity and to pray for the people of Ukraine.

Led by the Ukrainian Association of Western Australia Inc., some 350 people listened to words of support from several Federal and State Ministers.

Those in attendance included Minister for Finance, Racing and Gaming, Aboriginal Affairs; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, Hon Dr Tony Buti, WA Leader of the Opposition,

Dr David Honey MLA, Government Whip in the Senate, Senator Dean Smith, Deputy Chair of Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests, Senator Patrick Gorman MP, Federal Member for Moore, Ian Goodenough MP, Federal Member for Stirling Vince Connelly MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport, Planning and Ports, Jessica Stojkovski MLA, Member for Mount Lawley, Simon Millman MLA and Member for Darling Range, John Hughes MLA.

Several Consul Generals and Honorable Consuls were also in attendance including the Unites States of America, Germany, Estonia, the People’s Republic of China, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Croatia, Greece, Hungry, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Poland, Malta, North Macedonia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Kazakhstan and Austria.

Ukrainian Association of Western Australia Inc. President Mykola Mowczan said that without support Ukraine stands no chance against one of the biggest military powers in the world.

“We applaud the decision made by the Government to fast-track visas for people seeking refuge in Australia, I believe up to 1000 people are already heading towards our shores,” Mr Mowczan said.

“My parents, like many of yours had the opportunity to migrate to Australia after World War II and later, after the Ukrainian independence in 1991, many Ukrainians migrated to Australia to make a better life for their families.

“The Australian-Ukrainian Community are in shock and disbelief because our families, our friends are being killed and separated from one another, huddle in basements, in underground train tunnels, flee to neighbouring countries, not to mention the elderly and infirmed who can’t move to safety,” he said.