In Poland, priests at the border welcome refugees arriving from Ukraine

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The European Union has allowed refugees to move freely across its borders, yet finding food and accommodations for the hundreds of thousands of them that arrive in Europe in such a short time is difficult.

Where the government isn't able to reach, the work of ordinary citizens along with these priests is making a difference.

Priest in Poland
“My heart and my head tell me that I have to be here. This Lenten season is a good time to dedicate ourselves to Christ and to be where there are people in need.

As a priest I don't have any special task, but I want to transmit charity, hope and love.'

Priest in Poland
“I don't have a specific role, I help where there is need: if someone is crying, I go to talk to them, and if someone needs to sleep we have the parish at our disposal.”

Despite the fact that most people in Ukraine are Orthodox Christian, Peter says he helps people of all faiths.

Priest in Poland
“There are many priests working here, and when it comes to helping people they don't think about religion. As Pope Francis says, every person is important regardless of their religion.”

Nearby in Mariupol, Ukraine, a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders has reported that people trapped in the city have been without drinking water and medicine for more than a week.

Only 30 miles from Kyiv, Olga and her family are living in fear due to the constant bombings.

“I love my city, I love my country, I am a patriot of my country, and I know that my army is protecting me, if all Ukrainian people will go away, what will they protect? Just the ground? No. It doesn't work like that. That's why I'm not going to leave.”

For the time being, they can continue to work, buy food and go out for a walk in their town. But in the background they continue to hear the rumble of bombs.

“It is very scary, especially at night, you wake up because of the explosions. You calm down thinking that it's far away from home and you are safe. You see the orange sky, you see rockets flying, it's terrible. I can't imagine how people living in the hot spots must experience it.”

Yet sometimes, Olga hears air raids and needs to flee underground for safety, just as she did at the end of this interview.

'Wait a moment, please. I need to ask someone what to do.'

Olga is safe with her family, but they had to take shelter in the bunkers because a Ukrainian army plane was attacked while flying towards Kyiv, and the Russian attacks could be heard and felt from their town, 30 miles from the capital.



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