The primary goal of our mission is to empower the Ukrainian Communities to support their own people. Specifically, we are helping the Ukrainians rebuild and recover from decades of Soviet oppression and regain their identity and dignity. We do not operate the charities that we support, we facilitate the Ukrainian community, lay, and religious to build and run their own programs. Below we identify some of our missions and support to the Ukrainian people.
Day-to-day Mission Support
Support to families includes such initiatives as the Family of Heroes. Since 2014, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Crimea, there have been thousands of Ukrainian military deaths. The families of these fallen soldiers receive very small pensions from the government for their loss. Since the Families do not have support groups to help them grieve and adjust to the loss of a husband or father, Families of Heroes, as a Ukrainian private project, supports these families with discussion groups, support, family outings and trips, so that the families can share a more normal life. It does not charge for their services. It also supports the building of suitable Fallen Warrior Memorials and grave sites for the soldiers. Sadly, The battles are still active, with casualties every day in Southeast Ukraine.
Vinnytsia Clinic Project – Also known as Domus Martin was founded by Oksana and Oleg Samoiliuk, in the city of Vinnytsia in Central Ukraine. Oksana is a Polish trained clinician in treating brain & nerve damaged patients. Oleg and Oksana worked out of their own home to provide clinical care for brain dead, paralyzed or crippled patients for 5 years. CONU is helping provide upgraded Electrical Stimulation Equipment to Oksana and has been providing funds for a clinical space. Soon Domus Martin will move to a larger, donated facility in the city of Kazatin. Domus Martin is named after the Clinics Patron Saints, the Parents of St Therese of Liseu, St Luis and Zeli Martin.
The Sumy Care Center started construction in 2018. It is located within 20 miles of Russia in an old basement of a building donated by City of Sumy as a care clinic built by the Diocese of Kharkiv . It has been funded with a grant from CSSP Mission Heritage Fund – Sisters of the Precious Blood. CONU is committed to providing funding for construction and refurbishing. The Care Center has 2 sections : One for Mothers with Children, the second for Adults. The Center will be open 5 days a week to provide a warm space, basic medical care, and supplies, showers, counseling, basic clothing, personal care items, and community support programs to poor, refugees, dislocated, and homeless. New heating, electrical, ventilation, floors, drains, walls, doors, furniture, fixtures, bathrooms, and kitchen are being installed.
Parishioners from Incarnation Parish in Sumy, Ukraine operate a Soup kitchen that feeds alternate days of the week with another Church in Sumy. These volunteers prepare and serve meals, typically of potato soup, bread, and hot water for about 65 people at a time. They serve from a church garage, and a prayer of blessing is said by the Parish Priest, Father Andre before the meal. Each person must bring their own cups or improvised dishes, sometimes made from old plastic bottles. Seconds are served if supplies permit. The servers are very generous and sympathetic to their customers. Some medical ointments, simple over the counter drugs and other toiletries are given out based on need. CONU has been asked to fund another soup kitchen, about 200 miles south of Sumy near the war zone. So far, in 2020 we have not been able to budget for this second mission.
Major Construction Initiatives
Saint John Paul II Center
Bishop Radoslav is leading the effort to build a center for both Seminary Studies and Laity Formation. It is designed to support Ukraine’s need to foster leadership for the people to rediscover in Christ their dignity after four generations of Soviet enslavement. The vision is for priestly formation to be more interwoven with the laity and its role under Vatican II guidelines. Construction is underway with the cornerstone dedication in September 2019.
Parish Facilities and Churches
Over the years, generous American Donors have made large bequests or memorial donations to CONU for the purpose of building new churches, Apostolic Centers for Laity, and seminaries. Our current Church Construction Project is located in Myrgorod Ukraine, and is called Divine Mercy Church. Father Stan Taranatov, is the pastor, and he is simultaneously building a Parish Community of converts and a Church building. The parishioners in the city are amazing and full of the spirit. This is the first Roman Catholic Parish in the city. What started out as a donated small 3 room house, has now become a beautiful testimony to God’s providence. We should be finished in about 2 more years.