People fleeing from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, arrive in Przemysl Glowny, Poland People fleeing from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, arrive in Przemysl Glowny, Poland 

Pope invites Poles to celebrate Easter with Ukrainian refugees

Pope Francis again turns his thoughts to the many Polish citizens who have opened their doors to Ukrainians fleeing war, inviting them to contemplate the Crucifix together as they await the Resurrection and peace in Ukraine.

By Linda Bordoni

Greeting Polish pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI Hall for the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis noted that many Polish nationals are approaching Easter as the war in neighbouring Ukraine continues to rage.

“This year you will celebrate Holy Week an Easter in a special way: together with many Ukrainian guests.”

Poland has opened its doors to more than 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees since the Russian invasion on 24 February.  

Over 300,000 Ukrainians, of which 100,000 are children, have found refuge in Warsaw alone. Authorities and civil society organizations are engaged in providing the support they need to continue their lives, and already 15,000 Ukrainian refugees are enrolled in Polish schools.

“Easter is a family celebration,” the Pope said, “and opening your homes to them you have become their families."

The Holy Father also noted that many Ukrainians who belong to Catholic Eastern Rites will be marking Easter a week later, according to the Julian calendar.

“You are all together now, contemplating the Crucifix, waiting for the resurrection of Christ and peace in Ukraine.”

He concluded by imparting his heartfelt blessing.

It is not the first time Pope Francis has expressed gratitude to Poland for offering concrete generosity and solidarity to their neighbours.

Speaking during the General Audience on 2 March he said: "You are the first ones who have supported Ukraine opening your borders, your hearts, the doors of your homes to the Ukrainians who are escaping the war. You are generously offering everything that is necessary so that they can live in a dignified way despite the dramatic moment. I am profoundly grateful, and I bless you from my heart."

On 28 March, Pope Francis reiterated his gratitude during a meeting with the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference.

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13 April 2022, 13:46