Caritas Poland has turned to the Ukrainian refugees, who number about 2.5 million in Poland. In the first month of war, Caritas Poland raised 10 million euros for these refugees, either to serve in Poland or to help displaced people in Ukraine. In addition, in that period Caritas Poland sent to Ukraine about 500 trucks full of food, medicine and even electric generators.
Much work is done at the border, welcoming new arrivals. “We make 40 thousand sandwiches a day. Also hot meals for the refugees who have just crossed the border”, explained on April 7 the Father Marcin Izycki, Director of Caritas Poland.
He details that many refugees go to large Polish cities, but many others try to stay near the border if they find reception and accommodation.
A special breakfast for Orthodox Easter
Orthodox Easter falls this year on April 24. No one knows what the course of the war will be by then, but it seems certain that there will still be millions of displaced people and refugees far from home and their families.
As a special activity, the hoteliers of the Holding of Polish Hotels and Caritas are organizing to offer a breakfast in hotels to 7,000 Ukrainian refugees, selected by Caritasan activity that has just been announced.
Gheorghe Marian Cristescu, president of the Polish hoteliers, explains the meaning. “For many people in Ukraine, the upcoming Easter will be the first major holiday of its kind to be celebrated away from home, and often also without the closest relatives. We know it will be a very difficult time for our neighbors. With Caritas, we want to help them experience their first Orthodox Easter in Poland. We invite other representatives of our industry, hoteliers and restaurateurs, to share this festive time together. Let’s show our solidarity and open our hearts to our guests.”
Thus, hotels throughout Poland, in small and large cities, in 20 different dioceses, will host these breakfasts.
The father Zbigniew Zembrzuski, director of Caritas Warsaw, stresses that it will be a difficult Easter for “the sisters and brothers of Ukraine”, who “They need hope like never before, and the Risen One brings peace, defeats death and it heals the pain.” “They lack a free homeland, a peaceful home, and many of their relatives had to stay in Ukraine and fight. We invite everyone to the Easter table “. And he adds: “The Lord says: Courage, I have defeated death, I give you a new Life, the Resurrection!”
Leaders and volunteers from Caritas Poland, with some promoters of the Dzien Dobra campaign for Ukrainian children, especially focused on orphans and children with disabilities displaced to Poland.
Heal the wounds of the past
80 years ago, Poles and Ukrainians killed each other. In 1937, the Polish government, in a wave of radical nationalism, developed an intense campaign of “Polishization” in the Volhynia region, which had a large part of the Ukrainian population, confiscating Orthodox churches and disdaining the Ukrainian language and ethnicity in public office.
Then came the world war. In 1943, Ukrainian troops launched a bloody campaign of ethnic cleansing and physical extermination of Poles, including killing women, children and religious, which caused 10,000 murders in July alone, and up to 80,000 Polish victims in those years, until the end of the World War. Polish guerrillas, sometimes armed by Soviet partisans, responded by killing another 10,000 Ukrainians.. On both sides, and in the context of the world war, cold-blooded killings of civilians were practiced in towns of Volhynia and Galicia.
Somehow the Poles and Ukrainians of today contemplate with a certain joyful astonishment the bonds of generosity and gratitude that are now taking place between the two peoples.
The Archbishop of the Latin Catholics of Lviv, Mieczysław Mokrzycki, wanted to remember this change when he received an aid convoy from Poland in early April.
“I ask Poles to open their hearts to refugees, regardless of historical events. The Holy Father John Paul II always said that these two opposing nations must reconcile and forgive, without forgetting the great tragedy that befell the Polish nation. The Pope also told us not to lose hope, because with Christ we will always win,” he proclaimed.
Latin Catholics in the Lviv region number about 140,000, most of whom are ethnically or culturally closely tied to Poland, while the majority of the population in that region are Greek-rite Catholics (up to 60%).
The archbishop recalls that much of the aid that arrives in Lviv is forwarded to Kharkov, Zaporozhye, kyiv and other regions, through the local Ukrainian Caritas.
To help the victims of the war in Ukraine, Cáritas Española has opened this website And the account Caixabank ES31 2100 5731 7502 0026 6218