Catholic Archbishop Greets Ukrainian Refugees

Source: National Catholic Register

In a remarkable show of hospitality, Archbishop Adam Szal of the Catholic Archdiocese of Przemyśl greeted displaced Ukrainian refugees at the Polish border fleeing the violence caused by the Russian decision to invade Ukraine.

According to Polish government official’s since the advent of hostilities almost 327,000 refugees have sought asylum in the country precipitating a growing humanitarian crisis.

Greeting refugees at the main railway station in Przemyśl on Feb. 26, Archbishop Szal hoped his presence would bring some comfort to families. On the same day of Szal’s visit to the border, the archdiocese released a video message from the archbishop encouraging the Polish people to open their hearts and homes to Ukrainian refugees.

In addition to extending his hospitality, Archbishop Szal expressed solidarity with the refugees, prayed with families, and pledged his archdiocese full assistance to supporting volunteers providing relief to families.

Rallying to support the Archbishop’s call for assistance, Catholic organizations across Poland have begun receiving donations of food, clothing, and beds while organizing volunteer teams to provide housing, beds, and psychological support services in response to the trauma.

Additionally, the Polish Conference of Catholic Bishops has organized special collections to be taken up in parishes across Poland on Sunday, Feb. 27 for Ukrainian refugees with further special appeals being collected ahead of Ash Wednesday on March 2.

President of the Conference, Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki urged Polish Catholics to open “homes, hostels, diocesan and parish retreat houses, and all places where help can be provided to people in need.”

Last week, Caritas Poland, the country’s largest charity, and diocesan branches of Caritas made an initial donation of 100,000 Polish złotys (around $24,000) in emergency aid to Caritas Ukraine, overseen by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and Caritas-Spes, operated by Ukraine’s Latin Rite Catholic Church.

The most urgent needs include food and hygiene supplies, as well as such as mattresses, sleeping bags, blankets, and mobile kitchens. Polish Catholic dioceses are organizing transport for refugees as well as in-kind donations.

Also at the request of local bishops, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (KUL) is housing  more than 100 refugee students providing food, shelter, legal, spiritual, psychological, and childcare help to Ukrainian citizens.

Other entities within the church such as the Polish association of the Order of Malta have been organizing meals in cities such as Kraków and have partnered with local parishes to expand the scope of their operations to provide medical aid centers in several Polish cities, as well as at the train stations in Przemyśl and Rzeszów on the border which have seen a constant stream of migrants.To learn more about how you can assist Ukrainian charities through the Polish conference of bishops please the Polish Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Source: National Catholic Register