Archbishop of Riga visits Ukrainian refugee children

The Archbishop of Riga visits Ukrainian refugee children.

Archbishop Zbigņev Stankevičs of Riga visits Ukrainian refugees at the Ukrainian Registration Center in Riga, Latvia, March 25, 2022. / Archdiocese of Riga

Riga, Latvia, March 25, 2022 / 3:41 p.m. (CNA).

On Friday, Bishop Zbigņev Stankevičs visited Ukrainian refugee children in Latvia, welcoming them to the country as an exhibition of their works is being prepared.

The March 25 visit of the Archbishop of Riga to the Ukrainian Registration Center in the city marked the Feast of the Annunciation and the consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart.

Caritas Latvija and the country’s Church are organizing the exhibition of drawings made by Ukrainian refugee children, which will open in May.

The art exhibition “is intended to help children overcome the mental strains they endured while fleeing Russian aggression in Ukraine and to help them feel more comfortable in a new country”, said told CNA a representative of the Archdiocese of Riga.

Also present at the event was Leonid Grebennyk, First Secretary of the Ukrainian Embassy in Riga. The visit was organized by Gabriella Cabiere, art historian who curates the exhibition.

During the visit, Bishop Stankevičs “blessed the children and their parents and spoke to the volunteers. He also looked at children’s drawings, appreciating their progress in the art process,” the Archdiocese of Riga said.

Welcoming children to Latvia, the archbishop “compares[d] Ukrainian children with Jesus,” quoting the words of the Lord, “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

“They came to Latvia and gave us the opportunity to feed them and open our doors to them,” the Archdiocese of Riga said.

Bishop Stankevičs welcomes the children.  Archdiocese of Riga
Bishop Stankevičs welcomes the children. Archdiocese of Riga

While explaining the simultaneous consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Bishop Stankevičs had an exchange with one of the children, who said: “Good will always prevail, evil will not won’t take away”. The archbishop answered him: “It is completely correct, even if it takes time; Good will always prevail.

The Archbishop also blessed the children and recited prayers with Father Roman Sapuzhak from the Greek Catholic Parish of Riga.

The children’s parents then spoke with Archbishop Stankevičs and Father Roman about their experiences, and the Archbishop invited them to visit Catholic parishes in the city.

Leonid Grebennyk, Fr. Roman Sapuzhak, Archbishop Stankevičs and Gabriella Cabiere speak with a Ukrainian refugee during the visit.  Archdiocese of Riga
Leonid Grebennyk, Fr. Roman Sapuzhak, Archbishop Stankevičs and Gabriella Cabiere speak with a Ukrainian refugee during the visit. Archdiocese of Riga

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