Cardinal Michael Czerny, the Vatican under-secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section, visited a Catholic Caritas aid center for refugees from Ukraine in Barabás, on the Ukrainian border on Wednesday. The cardinal expressed solidarity, and on behalf of Pope Francis, blessed the people staying at the local cultural center, which has been converted into a refugee shelter. He praised Hungary’s help and set this as an example for other nations.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
“Prayer, prophecy, accusation:” This is the motto under which Cardinal Michael Czerny is placing his trip to the Ukrainian border. The Canadian Jesuit is one of two cardinals sent by Pope Francis to the region in light of the Ukraine war. Czerny arrived Tuesday in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.
The people who care for displaced people and refugees of this war, the cardinal recently called “a silent, weaponless army that works to restore the humanity that weapons seek to destroy.”
The cardinal first went to Keleti Station, where he visited the relief centers of the Hungarian Maltese Relief Service and Catholic Caritas. In the evening, Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom and Budapest, Bishop András Veres of Győr, President of the Hungarian Catholic Apostolic Conference, and several members of the Council met with Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén before Cardinal Czerny’s trip to Ukraine.
Before the trip, Czerny told Vatican News:
This journey is a very concrete way to bring the Word, the prayer, the prophecy, and the accusation of the Holy Father and of the entire Christian community to where people are suffering. It is an act of presence and communion. I go there to see, to listen, yes, also to learn and to communicate to them our solidarity.”
Speaking to reporters near the Hungarian-Ukrainian border, he expressed his condolences for the refugees whose “lives have collapsed and who had to flee because of the situation.” He praised Hungary’s well-organized humanitarian aid and said he hoped “every country in the world can provide similar assistance to refugees.”
The cardinal walked around the beds in Barabás in the temporary shelter of refugees with the help of his Ukrainian-born secretary, talked to the guests in the warming room, and then gave them Pope Francis’ blessing. “Andate in pace!” – “Go in peace!” The farewell blessing was given with exceptional fervor, Magyar Kurír reported locally.
In the courtyard, he blessed the aid workers and referring to Pope Francis’ Sunday address, thanked the journalists for their important work and for the information they provide.
This is what Christ wanted: not words, not abstract ideas, but concrete love. This is reflected in the way people are helped with food, with a place to sleep, and with living space,”
Cardinal Czerny told our editorial team at the end of his visit. We see the many people who help them.
Barabás is one of the five aid points along the Ukrainian-Hungarian border operated by the Hungarian Catholic Charity “Katolikus Caritas.” They are available to refugees 24 hours a day, providing them with food, hot drinks, and temporary accommodation in a warm shelter. Ninety-five percent of those arriving know where they are going, and Caritas workers try to help them along the way. There are many volunteer drivers and Ukrainian interpreters, and many of the young people coming from across the border speak English. Now they are coming from further away, from Kyiv, Kharkiv, or Odessa. Some have been on the road for a week. They are very tired, very vulnerable, Tamás Oláh, director of Diocesan Caritas Nyíregyháza told Magyar Kurír.
Cardinal Czerny will travel on to Ukraine from Barabás.
Source: MTI, Vatican News
Featured image via Attila Balázs/MTI