EUROPE/POLAND - The Comboni Missionaries: "Doors open in our homes to welcome and care for the Ukrainian population fleeing the war"

Friday, 29 April 2022 refugees   wars  

Krakow (Agenzia Fides) - "Our Comboni communities in Poland have been committed from the very beginning to welcoming refugees from Ukraine. To date, about three million refugees have crossed the border into our country. As missionaries, we could not remain indifferent to this situation and that is why, from the beginning of the conflict, we decided to open our two houses in Krakow and Warsaw". Thus reports in an interview with Agenzia Fides, Father Tomasz Marek, Comboni delegate in Poland, speaking of the reception organized by the spiritual heirs of Saint Daniel Comboni to respond in the most appropriate way to the humanitarian crisis that affects the Ukrainian population. Fr. Tomasz tells us: "Their number changes every day because while some arrive, others go to Western Europe, while others have been in our homes since the beginning of the conflict. Right now there are about 30 people. They are women and children, the youngest is only one year old and the oldest is 82 years old". "Since their arrival - he continues - the routine of our day has changed and every day is different. We give them food and shelter. However, they often need other types of assistance, such as the legalization of documents, help to find a job or an independent apartment". "Some of them - explains the missionary - believe that the war will end soon and that is why they do not even intend to regularize their stay, they are sad, sometimes even desperate ... There are also those who have no place to return to because their home no longer exists. Many seek contacts with their compatriots, who were already working in Poland before the war". The priest points out: "The situation of young children is especially delicate. Some of them have viral illnesses because of the trip, the change in diet and habits, and perhaps also because of the lack of vaccinations, as some doctors say. We try to help the mothers of these children by organizing makeshift medical facilities". In welcoming and helping refugees, the Comboni Missionaries collaborate above all with the local Caritas, but "also the government - reports Fr. Marek - is also launching a permanent assistance program for refugees to help them integrate into Polish society In addition, we can also count on the help of many people of good will who, given the situation, support us by buying food and personal hygiene products". And to conclude, Fr. Tomasz affirms: "We are aware that it is our Comboni charism that we can put into practice here and now, fulfilling the wish of Saint Daniel Comboni, who lived for the most needy, who are now those fleeing the hell of war. We ask everyone to pray for the end of the war and for the peace in Ukraine". (ES/PA) (Agenzia Fides, 29/4/2022)