A Catholic priest and a parishioner team up to rescue Ukrainian orphans 

Francesca Pollio Fenton   By Francesca Pollio Fenton for CNA


Father Jason Charron with an orphan from Ukraine. / EWTN News Nightly

Denver Newsroom, Mar 28, 2022 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

A Ukrainian Catholic priest, who is married and a father of seven, recently accompanied one of his parishioners on a journey to Ukraine, where they rescued 22 orphans.

Father Jason Charron is pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Ukrainian Catholic Church in Wheeling, West Virginia. Several weeks prior to the start of the conflict in Ukraine, he had helped a couple from his parish, Alan and Anita Sherwood, adopt a daughter from Ukraine.

In an interview with EWTN News Nightly Charron explained, “My wife knows people back in Ukraine. So we put them in touch with some people back in the homeland, so to speak.”

They eventually brought a little girl over for a home visit. Charron said, “She stole not only their hearts, but the hearts of everyone in my parish.”

“After about four or five weeks of the visit, at the end of it, Alan said to this beautiful little angel, ‘If anything bad ever happens, if you’re ever in danger, I’ll come and I’ll rescue you,’” he related.

Little did he know that weeks later Ukrainians would be fleeing the country as Russian forces invaded. The same day the conflict began, Alan rushed to the church to tell Charron that he had to go to Ukraine. The two flew to Poland, where a taxi drove them to the border.

“As you get close to the border, you’re walking across, you see this sea of humanity, just as far as the eye can see, of people lining up to get out,” Charron detailed. “You kind of get that feeling in your stomach, like, ‘how am I ever going to get out of here?’ Once I cross this border I don’t know what awaits me.’”

After crossing the border, the two made their way to the orphanage and were able to get the orphans to safety in Lithuania.

Charron added how fortunate Ukraine is to have Poland as a neighboring country. “Catholic Poland is alive right now,” he said. “The meter of that activity in fervor is the way they treat their widows and orphans. We see that in the first chapter of James. That’s the measure of true religion. If you take care of widows and orphans.”

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