“I’m proud how New Yorkers have risen in charity for the suffering refugees of Ukraine,” –Cardinal Dolan
Cardinal Timothy Dolan praised New Yorkers’ compassion for Ukrainians and outlined his upcoming trip to meet with refugees in an Easter Sunday interview on NY1.
The archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York said he will travel to Rome next Sunday before heading to Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and possibly Ukraine itself.
“I’m so proud of the way not only the Catholics, but the entire community in New York and our country and yep, throughout the world, have risen in compassion and charity for the suffering refugees of Ukraine,” Dolan said.
Catholic Charities, the charitable arm of the Catholic Church in the United States, works with refugee populations across the country, but Dolan says Ukrainian refugees have not yet arrived en masse. And when they do, they may only get temporary status, the cardinal said.
“The vast majority of them, they just want to go home,” Dolan said. “They might not be able to go back for a couple years as the country is rebuilt after what we all hope is victory. So that’s when we may have to give them temporary, temporary sanctuary and residence here. And we’re rearing to go.”
Catholic Charities and many Catholic churches across the city also work closely with homeless New Yorkers. Dolan says progress is being made under the Adams administration.
“We always appreciate it when our political leaders say ‘hey let’s work together to solve this crisis,’” Dolan said. “What gives me some hope this Easter morning is that we’re not afraid to tag it, we’re not afraid to talk about it, and we are making steps. Baby steps maybe, but that’s not bad.”
Dolan said he has witnessed over his 14 years as archbishop the dogged strength of the people in the city.
“Never will I undersell the resilience and the grit of the people of New York when they put their shoulders to a problem,” he said.
Dolan also spoke of “religious friendship” as the city marks Passover, Easter, and Ramadan this weekend. He recalled attending an iftar meal at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center on Staten Island earlier this month.
“Every religion was there — and people of no religion at all — who came together in prayer to celebrate with neighbors, to celebrate a Ramadan tradition, and we’re doing that all over the place,” Dolan said.
Dolan said he’s not naïve about religious hatred and noted attacks on Catholic churches and the rise in antisemitism. But, he says, these bigoted incidents are shocking to New Yorkers because they’re rare.
“That’s not what we’re used to. We’re used to getting along and working together,” Dolan said. “And on this Easter morning, to that I say hallelujah.”