“The Church in the East already has its structures, but still needs our help and support, both spiritual and material” – said Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, in a message addressed on this occasion.

“Let us also remember that a large part of the faithful of the Church in the East are Poles or people with Polish roots. They found themselves outside the borders of our homeland not of their own choice. They suffered persecution and poverty, but they did not deny their faith and nationality” – noted the President of the Episcopate.

Bishop Antoni Dydycz, Chairman of the Team of Support to the Church in the East of the Polish Bishops’ Conference stressed that the Day of Prayer and Material Help to the Church in the East falls this year on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which also marks the beginnings of the European Union. He appealed for a spirit of solidarity and help.

Fr. Leszek Kryża TChr, Director of the Office of the Team of Support to the Church in the East, reminded that currently over 200 diocesan priests, about 300 religious priests, 320 nuns and 20 friars from Poland as well as lay people serve in the Church in the East. The Office receives requests from dioceses, parishes and religious congregations working in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Central Asian countries.

340 requests have already been answered this year, i.a. summer holiday for children and youth, functioning of parish community centers, kindergartens, centers for the elderly and single mother centers, renovation and construction works, as well as charity activities.

During Wednesday’s general audience, Pope Francis referred to the 20th Day of Prayer and Material Help to the Church in the East in greetings addressed to Poles. “I recommend you this important work and I thank all Poles who are committed to neighbouring Churches in a spirit of brotherly love” – said Pope Francis.

Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference