Catholic Mission is responding to an urgent call for help from its mission partners in Poland and Romania, who are desperately trying to comfort and support refugees fleeing across the border from Ukraine.

As the Australian agency of the worldwide network of the Pontifical Mission Societies, Catholic Mission will gratefully receive any contributions and will work with counterparts in Ukraine, Poland, and other European countries to provide support where needed, says Catholic Mission National Director, Fr Brian Lucas.

“The ongoing prayer and material support for those affected by these tragic circumstances is an expression of the solidarity of the universal church as we reach out to bring hope and give life to those so much in need,” says Fr Brian.

In Romania, local parishioners are providing emergency relief and pastoral support, amid an unfolding humanitarian crisis, says Fr Eugen Blaj, National Director of the PMS in Romania.

“The majority are women with children, trying to save their life from the war,” he says.

The refugee centres are crowded, and the services basic, and local parishioners are doing what they can to provide mattresses, bedsheets, pillows, and food, as well as nappies and basic sanitary items, says Fr Eugen.

In an email he sent to Fr Lucas last Friday he said, “If you can help a bit, maybe with a donation, it will be very helpful.”

Fr Eugen says families are torn apart, speaking of a mother who arrived with her small children and grandmother, seeking a place to sleep.

“I asked about her husband,” Fr Eugen says.

“With tears in her eyes, she told me that the men from 18 years above are taken in the war, and maybe their house is destroyed.”

“It is a lot of pain (for the refugees), if you ask them something, they start to cry,” he says

In Poland, they are receiving refugees in their local parishes and at the PMS chapel they pray for world peace. Grateful, also for the generous support from Australia.

“This shows that the PMS are one big family, a missionary family,” says Fr. Maciej Bedzinski, National Director PMS in Poland.