Special Black Santa Sit Out Raises €20k for Ukraine Appeal
Black Santa’s special spring appeal to support refugees from Ukraine arriving in Dublin & Glendalough raised a fantastic €20,000 for the diocesan U&Ukraine Appeal. St Ann’s caretaker, Fred Deane, and volunteers from the parish held the collection outside the church on Dawson Street for five days at the end of April.
The appeal was officially opened by Archbishop Michael Jackson and Black Santa also welcomed a visit from the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney who dropped in to show his support.
Thanking all who donated to their appeal for their support, Arthur Vincent of St Ann’s said they had received very generous donations from people on the street and online along with private supporters. He explained why they decided to hold the sit out: “We at St Ann’s felt that it was an opportunity to show to the people of the centre of the city that our dioceses are fully behind the people of Ukraine”.
Speaking at the launch, the Archbishop thanked volunteers from St Ann’s for taking to the streets for this special sit out. “St Ann’s sees itself as ‘the church in the heart of the city with the city at its heart’. At a time when so many people who have fled the war in Ukraine are seeking refuge in our city, it has been the natural response of St Ann’s to take action,” he said. “Black Santa is best known for the sit out in the days before Christmas when they collect funds for charities who support the most vulnerable in the city. Now, in the season of Easter, the volunteers once again seek to support the vulnerable, those whose lives have been changed utterly as a result of the invasion of their home country.” He concluded with prayers for peace.
St Ann’s caretaker, Fred Deane, led the sit out along with friends and supporters of St Ann’s. As always, every cent donated to the Black Santa appeal goes directly to charity with no deductions for administration.
Dublin & Glendalough have committed to responding practically to the crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine. The U&Ukraine initiative will help meet the needs of Ukrainian people arriving in Ireland. In consultation with community representatives and those working with refugees from Ukraine in the Dublin 1 area, the proposal is to utilise St George and St Thomas’s Church on Cathal Brugha Street to support those who have arrived here. It is also planned to facilitate worship in the Ukrainian Orthodox tradition to provide pastoral and liturgical ministry to Ukrainians who have been displaced.
Black Santa at St Ann’s in Dublin is modelled on a similar appeal, which has been run each Christmas by successive Deans of St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast for many years. It became known as the Black Santa appeal because of the long heavy black cloaks worn by the clergy to keep out the winter cold.