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Poland: Bishops urge support for refugees from Ukraine


Kiev - Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

Kiev - Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

Source: Polish Bishops Conference, Caritas Polska

As tensions grow in neighbouring Ukraine, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki chair of the Polish Bishops Conference has issued an appeal for Catholics to offer hospitality to refugees fleeing the threatened war. He emphasises: "everyone has the right to live in peace and security. Everyone has the right to seek for himself and his closest conditions ensuring a safe life."

Archbishop Gadecki said that in recent years Poland has opened its doors to newcomers from Ukraine "who live among us, work with us, pray in Polish churches and study in Polish schools."

He appealed for support for Caritas Polska, diocesan and parish Caritas and other associations. He added that these charities have now prepared an additional support program for refugees from Ukraine in the event of further escalation of tensions and military operations.

The full text of the Appeal follows:

I would like to express my sincere thanks to all those who responded to my call for prayer for peace in Ukraine, which I sent on February 12 this year. - through the bishops - to Catholics and people of good will in Poland. A few days ago I made a similar request to the Catholic and Orthodox bishops of Russia and Ukraine, including the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, His Holiness Cyril, asking for a common prayer of all Christians in Poland, Russia and Ukraine that the Lord would turn the hearts of those in power from the desires of war and turned them to peace.

It is with heartbreak that I accept reports of a further escalation of tensions in Ukraine, and especially of the military actions of the so-called 'Russian separatists', including shelling at a kindergarten in Donbas and a number of localities in the region.

In this situation - continuing our prayer for peace - I appeal to my countrymen for open and hospitable hearts for refugees from Ukraine who will want to find shelter in Poland from the war. Everyone has the right to live in peace and security. Everyone has the right to seek for himself and his closest conditions ensuring a safe life.

The history of Poland proves that in our homeland for centuries those who - respecting Polish culture and law - escaped from persecution and hatred have found refuge. In recent years, Poland has opened its doors to newcomers from Ukraine who live among us, work with us, pray in Polish churches and study in Polish schools.

Let our hospitality towards refugees find its concrete expression in the support we want to provide them with the help of our charitable organizations - Caritas Polska, diocesan and parish Caritas and other associations. Caritas Polska has prepared an additional support program for refugees from Ukraine in the event of a further escalation of tensions and military operations.

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews proclaims: 'Do not forget also hospitality - the love of strangers "), for through it some, without knowing it, made angels welcome" (Heb 13: 2). To God, through the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, we commend all refugees and the cause of peace in Ukraine.

+ Stanisław Gądecki
Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznań,
Chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference

Warsaw, February 21, 2022

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