Updates on the current situation and humanitarian efforts of the Claretians in Ukraine

Mar 12, 2022 | Polska, Solidarity & Mission

Truskavets, Ukraine. Once again, the Provincial of Poland, Fr. Piotr Bęza, CMF, provides an update on the situation in Ukraine and the involvement of the Claretian Missionaries in the humanitarian mission. The data comes from the two zones of Truskavets (Ukraine) and Boryslav (Poland) where the Claretians are present and where the collaborators are carrying out all these humanitarian efforts.

First, we have the news from Fr. Wojciech Kobyliński CMF, Superior of the Claretian community of Truskavets:

Dear Brothers and Sisters

First of all, I would like to thank you very much, on my behalf and on behalf of my confreres, for your support, both material and, above all, spiritual.

Let me start by saying that we live in one of the safest areas of the country today. It is a resort at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, near the Polish border, 80 km south of Lviv. So far we have not seen any “liberating” Russian soldiers (and it would be better if it stayed that way!). For this reason – for security – people from war zones (especially from Kiev) have been coming to Truskavets lately, and our city is under siege (it is difficult to drive through it) and new refugees are arriving all the time. Rich refugees live in overcrowded hotels, sanatoriums and boarding schools, while the poor and those who arrived later camp in schools: in halls and corridors (last night it was -15°C). Often, these people have fled their homes in a hurry and have only taken as much stuff as they could fit in a suitcase. Stores are functioning, but the prices of goods are starting to rise rapidly.

The Sisters of Boryslav (our second parish) organize transports with humanitarian aid from Poland. Here in the parish, we load these things into smaller vans and minibuses and send them further east, where the needs are even greater and the situation often more dramatic.

For the moment we are not directly affected by the war and so the parish work is basically the same as always (there is more prayer), although many parishioners, especially families with children, have already left for Poland. However, it is important to keep in mind that this situation will not end tomorrow and that the reconstruction of the country will take many years. In fact, in our opinion, the war has little to do with the sensationalist reports from the front.

I write about this because, barely two weeks after Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as emotions begin to calm down, questions are already being raised in some quarters about the point of continuing this war: why doesn’t Ukraine just give up and let everyone around it live in peace and do business?

Ukrainians are a proud and free people who have suffered much pain and shed much blood in their history. Ukraine and Poland are united by a common, though sometimes very difficult, history. Over the centuries, attempts have been made to dominate the Ukrainians, but despite great pressures, they have maintained their cultural and religious character (most of them are Greek-Catholic). Only thirty years have passed since their independence, after almost four centuries, but despite the many problems afflicting their country (corruption, poverty), they have managed to revel in freedom and the possibility of sovereignty. For this freedom, most of them are willing to give their lives, and none of them want to fall back under Russian occupation (even those who admit their Russian roots). For this alone they deserve respect and support.

With fraternal greetings – Fr. Wojciech Kobylinski, CMF
Truskavets, Ukraine

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In his last communication, Father Piotr said that as far as help in Poland is concerned, “we help by providing shelter in our communities (currently in the seminary in Wroclaw – 10 people, Lodz – a mother with a disabled child, Kudowa Zdroj – 3 people, Warsaw – help for the family of our cook (about 20 people) who arrived in Poland).” In addition, they help by buying what is necessary for daily life, as most of those who come to Poland brings practically nothing. So they buy clothes, medicines, hygiene products, food.

All this assistance is coordinated by the Provincial Econome, Brother Tadeusz Lihs CMF, together with a team of volunteers. To date, more than 100 people (not counting those living with them) have already benefited from their help.

“We are aware that we are only a small fragment of the huge number of people who have provided shelter and assistance to more than 1.6 million refugees from Ukraine.”

The Polish Province of the Claretian Missionaries is very grateful for the overwhelming support that reaches them and allows them to help those in need. From various parts of the world (Spain, Hong Kong, Germany, Poland) they have already received almost 100,000 Euros. They try to dispose of them wisely, knowing that these dramatic events can take a long time.

Fr. Piotr said at the end of the communication letter:

“It’s a beautiful opportunity to translate the Gospel into everyday life.”

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