Caritas Hungary continues assisting Ukrainian refugees after Pope's recent visit

The Deputy Director of Caritas Hungary, Richard Zagyva, tells Vatican News that Pope Francis' meeting with Ukrainian refugees in Budapest delivered a message of peace.

By Agnes Gedo and Deborah Castellano Lubov

The Deputy Director of Caritas Hungary, Richard Zagyva, has underscored the great meaning of Pope Francis' desire to meet with Ukrainian refugees in Budapest.

Speaking to Vatican News' Agnes Gedo during the Apostolic Visit to Hungary at the Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary where the Pope met refugees, the Caritas official said the Holy Father's time with the suffering Ukrainians contributed to a message of peace.

In Hungary, some four million Ukrainian refugees have passed through the country due to the war in Ukraine since Russia's invasion, a fraction of whom have stayed. With Hungary bordering Ukraine on its northeastern border, Caritas has been at the forefront of helping those who have had to flee.

In this interview, Mr. Zagyva speaks about their charitable work for the poor, homeless, drug addicts, refugees, especially refugees from the war in Ukraine.

Since the first moment of the conflict they have been going to the Ukrainian border to help, as they do in Budapest with their staff and volunteers at the aid center. Caritas has short-term and long-term aid projects for refugees. It is very important that the Pope wanted to meet the refugees, which will give hope for peace.

"With Caritas Hungary," he explained, "we try to help eight kinds of target groups, for example, homeless people, addicted people, people in need, refugees, persecuted Christians or people in humanitarian crisis."

"Our workers are volunteers," he added. "They are still working for the refugees. We try to give short- and long-term accommodations, and we have an integration center for Ukrainian refugees in our head office."

He explained how Caritas has been helping the refugees from the borders since the start of the war.

"More than 2,000 refugees asked help in our integration center. We try to help with accommodation, with vouchers and other social work. It's very important that that we could bring refugees to the Pope's visit.

The Pope "wanted to visit them and meet them," he said, noting the encounter of the Pope with refugees promoted peace.

*Video produced by Franco Piroli

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10 May 2023, 12:52