ABOUT US

We are all unpaid volunteers, gathered to form a board of directors and leaders, who carefully manage this 501(c)(3) non profit organization, based on a courageous outward love of our fellow man.

Who We Are

Our team:

Executive Director:    Father Paul F. Wicker

Ukrainian Team: Fr. Wojciech Stasiewicz, Ms. Marina Palchykova, Mr. Vadim Kdubodelov

Colorado Springs Team: Cynthia Tremaroli, Joe and Robert Ryman, Jim and Romella Ryan, John Erickson, Davie and Mikell Humpert, Grant Smith, Mary Frances and Pat Harrison, Greg and Pam Sullivan.

Why CONU?

By Father Paul

One day in mid fall of 1994, Fr. Vitaly, the pastor of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Sumy Ukraine,  was visiting Holy Apostles Parish in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He asked me if Holy Apostles would consider becoming a sister parish for Annunciation Parish in Sumy, Ukraine.  I responded that I would take the request to our parish Charismatic Renewal group, to our staff, and other leaders. The result: That I should see this request as a call from God Our Father.

We met again in a few days and I asked Fr. Vitaly what it meant to him to be a “Sister Parish?”  He simply said “come and see.”   So I chose to go during  Holy Week in 1995  to see Christ rising from the graves of Communism.

And 5 years later a non profit CONU organization was formed.  We were very active in the early years, forming pen pals, making team visits to be with these in their land of martyrs who so needed to know they were not alone.  We helped rebuild, repair several churches, and built a new church in Konotop, and purchased two houses, which we joined, to be a first ever church in Shostka, a former closed Soviet munitions city ; we provided washers and dryers for state owned and operated orphanages, from which families of Holy Apostles adopted children; organized a 10 team medical team of pediatricians nurses and dentists to help families in Sumy; we helped a community of religious sisters teach blind children in Karkhov; and provided help for two nuns who were helping single homeless pregnant women; and donated money to the Vincentian Fathers in Kharkiv in their mission to the elderly and to the homeless older children who lived in the  sewers in the winter and in the cemeteries in the summer.

In the fall of 2015, I returned for about 10 days, and went again, in 2016 for 5 weeks, and in 2017 I have made 2 more trips, to assess how we should or should not continue.  Traveling in the North and South in cities near the Russian border, I experience  so many kinds of poverty, from the homeless elderly, to mothers and wives suddenly becoming single mothers, to speaking with people who have experienced their income drop in some cases 75 Percent and others who have no income!  And in all these dark times, to experience Ukraine joy and hope sprouting, breaking through, determined to provide care and compassion with and for each other…, I knew we were called to continue…with a shift of focus: to develop a partnership of prayer and action with and for each other in both nations,  allowing ourselves to share both in giving and receiving the many gifts God has given us, experiencing a greater depth of our human dignity, sharing our  God Stories of our Divine/human interaction  in one Body of Christ.

Our Mission

To develop a partnership of prayer and action with and for each other in both nations, allowing ourselves to share both in giving and receiving the many gifts God has given us, experiencing a greater depth of our human dignity in the one Body of Christ.

Our History

Since 1995 we have brought help to orphanages and rehabilitation centers in Kharkiv; have financially helped in teaching the blind community in Kharkiv, the Vincentian Depaul Center in Kharkiv; have helped renovate several churches in Ukraine, among them: Sumy, Romny, Rehalsk, Shotska, Oleysk, Korasten and have funded new building of churches in Konotop and Mirgorod.  In addition, we have funded hospital patient needs, and a soup kitchen in Sumy.

Currently, CONU is partnering with Caritas Spes in the diocese of Kharkiv which extends from North of Kharkiv along the Russian border to the Azov Sea , covering 75,800 sq mi, population as of 2013 of 18,090,000  according to recent UN research About 79% are living under the poverty line.  Caritas Spes, founded by Roman Catholic bishops in Ukraine, and formerly registered in 1996, was the first organization to offer humanitarian help to Ukraine in 1991.

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