I encourage all the faithful to participate in this event and to pray constantly for our brothers and sisters who live east of the Polish border – said Bishop Artur G. Miziński, Secretary General of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, during a press conference ahead of the Day of Prayer and Material Help to the Church in the East, celebrated on the Second Sunday of Advent. This year, the Day falls on December 10.
Bishop Miziński reminded the audience that we will end the liturgical year in a few days, lived in the Church in Poland under the motto „I believe in the Church of Christ.” „From this faith comes participation in the life of the Church, which will be the subject of our reflections and prayers in the coming liturgical year, which starts this Sunday,” pointed out.
Bishop Miziński acknowledged that participation in the life of the Church stems from brotherly love, which demands concern for one another. „St. Paul repeatedly says that helping brothers in need, especially sharing our faith, is at the center of the Church’s teaching and mission,” he stressed. „Thus, concern for one another, for the churches that profess faith in Jesus Christ, but not only. For this help is provided not so much because of religious or denominational affiliation, but to a person in need, on the part of the Church in Poland,” he noted.
The Secretary General of the Episcopate highlighted that the Church in Poland has been committed to this truth for several decades and has established a Team for Aid to the Church in the East, which operates under the Polish Bishops’ Conference. On the second Sunday of Advent, we collect donations that help assist throughout the year to the best of our ability. This work has been a part of the Church’s mission from the beginning and has continued for several decades in the Catholic Church of Poland,” he pointed out. He added that aid was provided to all countries that emerged after the Soviet Union’s collapse.
Bishop Miziński stressed the Day’s spiritual prayer and material dimensions, „to feel that we are one Church of Jesus Christ, having one Father in Heaven.” „I encourage all the faithful to participate in this event and to pray constantly for our brothers and sisters who live east of the Polish border,” he stressed.
Fr. Leszek Kryża TChr, Director of the Team for Aid to the Church in the East, noted that the Day of Prayer and Material Help for the Church in the East is „an expression of our solidarity, which we used to enjoy ourselves, and now we can show it.”
Fr. Kryża recalled that 782 clergy, 213 nuns, 37 religious brothers from Poland, and lay volunteers serve the Church across the eastern border. „In cooperation with various institutions and communities, and thanks to individual donors, we have managed and continue to manage to organize many transports of humanitarian aid, as well as to help those who have decided to take refuge in Poland,” he pointed out.
Fr. Kryża informed that 1 million 616 thousand 237 zlotys have been spent helping Ukraine from the Team’s funds. „With this money, we have purchased food, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, as well as generators for electricity and the purchase of stoves for heating,” he added. He reported that in 2023, 194 requests totaling PLN 3,011,757 were fulfilled.
In turn, Fr. Rafał Krawczyk, a long-time pastor in Armenia, spoke about the Team’s assistance for refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh in Armenia. „Concrete assistance began in 2020, during the second war in Nagorno-Karabakh,” he said.
Fr. Krawczyk noted that aid continues to reach Armenia intensively. „This time, 120,000 refugees had to flee Nagorno-Karabakh, and from January 2024, it will belong to Azerbaijan,” he noted, adding that the refugees need everything. He expressed gratitude for all the help and said the needs are still great.
Alicja Brzan-Kloś, from the Upper Silesia Branch of the „Polish Community” Association, presented aid actions for compatriots who remained in the Eastern territories, such as the „Good Heart” Charity Aid Station or „Donate a Candle to Kresy.”
„First of all, we target people who cannot leave home, who are very ill. Among other things, we donated a great deal of rehabilitation equipment. We also organized social actions, during which people brought things for those in need,” Brzan-Kloś admitted. She also asked for further help for the Charity Aid Station.
During the online call, Sr. Victoria Andruschyn CSA, a sister ministering in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, presented the „Angels of Joy” campaign aimed at children in small towns in Ukraine.
Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference
Translated by Sr. Amata Nowaszewska / Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference