Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "In our homes in Poland we have prepared several hundred places for refugees. Families with children with their orphanage guardians are brought to these centers. The confreres, in collaboration with local authorities, Caritas, firefighters, volunteers and parishioners, provide them with a dignified and peaceful place to stay, food and spiritual and psychological help", says the Provincial Superior of the Sons of Divine Providence, Orionini, in Poland, Fr. Cristoforo Mis, who underlines that "the war in Ukraine has touched and opened the hearts of many Poles who feel impelled to provide various types of help to the people affected by this tragedy". Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, and the Sunday before, donations were collected for the victims of the war in all parishes of the Orionine parish communities in Poland, in response to the appeal launched by Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, President of the Polish Bishops' Conference, so that Poles "have an open and hospitable heart for refugees from Ukraine who want to come to Poland to find refuge from the war". "We thank everyone for their heart and kindness - concludes Fr. Mis -. We are especially grateful for non-perishable food, cleaning supplies, bedding, blankets and anything else needed to house the refugees. We pray for the end of the war and the restoration of peace in Ukraine". At the end of yesterday's general audience, Pope Francis greeted the Poles present with these words: "You were the first to support Ukraine by opening your borders, your hearts and the doors of your homes to Ukrainians fleeing the war. You are generously offering them everything they need so that they can live in dignity, despite the drama of the moment. I am deeply grateful to you and I bless you from my heart!". Meanwhile, the disabled children who are habitual guests of the Orionines in Ukraine (see Fides, 25/2/2022) were accompanied by minibus from Lviv to the border with Romania, welcomed by the directors of the Orionine House in Oradea. From here they were transferred to the Orionine community of Tortona, Italy. In this way, the Orionine religious in Ukraine can devote themselves full time to welcoming families seeking refuge, almost all women and children, while the men are fighting.
The young people from Lviv who arrived in Tortona "are the first of a large group that the Orionine community is preparing to welcome", explains Don Renzo Vanoi who, together with the provincial superior, Don Giovanni Carollo, is coordinating the arrival of the Ukrainian refugees who will be hosted in the orionine structures of the city. "We will be able to accommodate about forty children and young people," says Father Vanoi. "There will be some young people with disabilities, like our children from Lviv, but also women with children and a group of blind people". In Tortona, in addition to the Orionine religious, lay people from the Orionine Lay Movement and many volunteers are actively involved in welcoming Ukrainian refugees. In the meantime, the Orionine realities in Italy are invited to collect basic necessities to be sent to the missionaries in Romania and Lviv, destined for refugees fleeing from the areas most affected by the conflict. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 3/3/2022)