Pope thanks Polish Bishops for massive welcome of Ukrainian refugees
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
As the war continues to wage on in Ukraine into its second month, the Church in Poland is continuing to welcome refugees displaced by the devastating invasion of Russian forces and is grateful to Pope Francis for his solemn consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary last Friday evening in the Vatican.
These were among the main themes discussed Monday morning during the 45-minute encounter between the Holy Father and the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki, in the Vatican.
Concern for refugees
According to a statement from the Bishops’ Conference (PBC), the Archbishop of Poznan and Pontiff reflected on the Church in Poland during the ongoing war in the neighboring nation, and the country’s welcoming some 2.3 million refugees since the start of the war according to latest figures.
Moreover, it stated, how Archbishop Gądecki along with the Eastern European nation’s bishops condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and expressed their gratitude to the Pope for his recent solemn consecration of all of humanity, and especially of Russia and Ukraine, to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.
During the audience, the Holy Father thanked them for all the actions taken by the Church in Poland and assured them of his spiritual support.
Archbishop Gądecki also presented to the Pope the aid activities undertaken by the Church in Poland since the war’s outbreak, especially for the refugees from Ukraine, who found themselves on Polish ground, as well as support for those who, despite the war, remained in their country.
The Church’s assistance is provided through Caritas Polska and diocesan Caritas, the PBC Team for Assistance to the Church in the East, religious communities, priests, and seminarians.
The PBC President highlighted the enormous grassroots mobilization and the commitment of Polish parishes, which, at the local level, organize food, lodging, transportation, medical and psychological assistance, legal support, education for children, and a variety of other aid activities, depending on current needs.
In addition, Archbishop Gądecki also presented his efforts to intensify joint actions of Christians of different denominations.
Toward the end of the encounter, the Pope in a special way asked that Poland’s clergy and seminarians to remain close to the faith of the People of God and bestowed his apostolic blessing.
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