Polish Bishops urge countrymen to welcome Ukrainian refugees

Amid ever-growing tensions over Ukraine, the head of the Catholic Polish Church appeals to Catholics and all people of goodwill in Poland to continue praying for peace and to prepare to welcome Ukrainian refugees. Meanwhile, European bishops welcome the EU’s approval of an emergency macro-financial assistance operation of €1.2 billion in the form of loans to foster stability in Ukraine.

By Lisa Zengarini

As war looms on the eastern border of Ukraine, the President of the Polish bishops is calling on Catholics and people of good will in Poland to welcome Ukrainian refugees seeking shelter in the country, while continuing to pray for peace. “Everyone has the right to live in peace and security. Everyone has the right to seek, for themselves and their loved ones, safe living conditions”, Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki of Poznań wrote in an Appeal issued on Monday.

The Polish prelate recalled that “for centuries Poland has been a refuge for those who, respecting Polish culture and law, fled from persecution and hatred”, and that, also in recent years, it has opened its doors to newcomers from Ukraine, “who live among us, work with us, pray in Polish churches, and study in Polish schools”.

Concrete support

Archbishop Gądecki asked that hospitality toward refugees be expressed concretely through supporting charitable organizations, like Caritas Poland, diocesan and parish Caritas, and other associations. He added that Caritas Poland has prepared an additional program of support for refugees from Ukraine in case of a further escalation of the tensions and military action.


On the occasion of the Feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, on February 14, the head of the Catholic Polish Church sent a letter to the Christian Russian and Ukrainian leaders calling on them to join in prayer for peace in Ukraine, recalling that Poland, Russia and Ukraine, have "a common history and Christian faith”. In his letter, he further remarked that Russians and Ukrainians “have much in common” and should “tend not to hatred, but to mutual respect and friendship”.

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Russian troops in the Donbas region

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine stepped up further on Monday when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he's recognizing the independence of the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region and ordered so-called peacekeeping troops to enter the two breakaway regions.


COMECE welcomes EU support to Ukraine

Meanwhile the European Union on Monday pledged €1.2 billion assistance to Ukraine to foster stability in Ukraine and to strengthen the country’s resilience. The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) welcomed the move, reiterating its concerns and solidarity with the people in Ukraine expressed by COMECE’s president, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ.

In a statement issued in January, the President of the EU Bishops urged the international community, including the European Union, to renew its commitment to peace and actively contribute to dialogue efforts, “not by demonstrating force and reinforcing armament dynamics, but by seeking creative ways of negotiation and value-based engagement”.

“The escalating rhetoric and actions pose a menace not only to the people of Ukraine, but they also put at risk peace on the whole European Continent and beyond, threatening to bring horrific human suffering and death, but also to destroy the achievements of several generations in building peace and stability in Europe for many years to come”, stated Cardinal Hollerich.

22 February 2022, 11:10