Live from Ukraine and Poland, Dehonians report on war and aid to refugees.
10.05.2022 Medicines from Germany to Ukraine
Father Jan Podobiński SCJ is very grateful. A delivery of medicines arrived from Germany to Pierszotrawieńs. Part of the medicine and dressing material was immediately delivered to the soldiers at the front. The other part was gratefully received by the local office of the Ukrainian Red Cross.
With this large amount of aid, people in need and in the hospital will be supported.
The medicines were provided by Medeor.
Many thanks to Fr. Gerd Hemken SCJ and the Italian community of Freiburg from Germany who organized this help.
22.05.06 rebuild Irpien
This is the current situation in Irpień, near Kiev, where the priests of the Sacred Heart lead a parish. In the priests’ house, only one window was damaged by a shrapnel. The walls of the church (under construction) are intact.
From our point of view we can say “Thank God”, but the tragedy is of the residents of this town is enormous.
Residents are returning to the city, road networks have been restored and stores are opening. However, it is difficult to estimate how much the small Catholic community of Irpien has. (Father Piotr Chmielecki SCJ)
22.05.01 Easter time in Ukraine.
There is a war in Ukraine. People are dying, starving, getting sick….
Nevertheless, the Easter liturgy is celebrated.
In the Pierszotrawieńsk Sacred Heart/Priests Church, parishioners, elderly and young people sing Easter songs together and listen to the Good News. Praying for peace.
Christ is risen from the dead! Christ has conquered death.
The joyful news can be seen in people’s faces 🙂
22.04.22 Dehonians in Ukraine thank for solidarity
P. Andrzej and other Dehonians are very grateful for the help. He writes: We have received help from Austria!!! Many thanks to the Lord and to the people !!!!
P. Piotr Chmielecki SCJ writes: “My adventure with the delivery of humanitarian aid in Ukraine has ended in Lublin. We collected gifts from the parish of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and St. Barbara in Bełchatów (parish of the priests of the Sacred Heart), things from Austria, from Mrs. Figiel Barbara. We bought in a large store, and thanks to Caritas of the Archdiocese of Lublin we were able to fill the remaining transportation space.
May God bless you and guide you home safely!
22.04.18 How the Dehonians celebrated Easter in Ukraine?
On Holy Saturday we organized an “Evangelization and Charity” action. Together with Sergei (a medical student from Kiev) and local volunteers, we went to visit refugees in Pershotravensk. We told them about the Easter celebrations [in the Rim Catholic Church], brought Easter greetings and gifts. We visited families in great difficulty, from Bucza, Borodianka, Kharkiv, Mariupol. Some people have nothing left, they are homeless. Despite everything, the atmosphere of the meetings was joyful. Wishes and gifts were gratefully accepted!
16.04.22 Living between Good Friday and Easter
We packed the gifts (the food, the clothes) in the Pershotravens parish car and went to Irpień, to Father Tadeusz Wolos. On the border of Irpien we were stopped by soldiers who did not want us to go on. There is still a curfew there. So we set to work: the boys took the phones and I took the rosary. After 20 minutes, thanks to the intervention of our police superiors, the military let us go.
We found Father Tadeusz. In Irpien there is no electricity, no gas and no heating for many days, the stores are closed. The situation in the religious house is saved by an electricity generator provided by the local Caritas from Italy. So we stayed “for coffee”. Suddenly there were serial explosions. I must have looked scared because Father Andrzej told me, “Stay calm, don’t shoot, our people are blowing up mines.” We managed to get back to Pershotravensk in time for the evening service.
22.04.12 Dehonians close to the people
I saw the war for the first time. There are bombed residential buildings and a destroyed hospital in Żytomierz. There is a military unit 300 meters away, that’s probably where the missiles were supposed to fall…
The purpose of our visit to Żytomierz was the liturgy of chrism, which is celebrated twice in the Diocese of Kiev-Żytomierz. During the homily, sirens sounded in the church, I admit that you experience war differently live than in front of the TV…. The Bishop in his homily also talked about the parish priest Tadeusz Wołos SCJ – the parish priest of the Sacred Heart of Irpień who stayed with his parishioners during the toughest battles for the city. (Fr Piotr Chmielecki SCJ)
22.04. 12. Staying human in Perszotravensk
In the morning, we transported humanitarian aid to the “Volunteer Center,” which is located in the local government building in Perszotravensk. Refugees seeking help there also deal with official matters, for example trying to renew lost documents. On site, I met some energetic ladies who sort donations and help people.
The help is for internal refugees, of which there are almost 600 in Perszotravensk (there are about 2,000 permanent residents in Pirwszotravensk). All refugees are in private apartments! Packages are also for the “boys”, that is, local men who are called up for the army. Among other things, they received thermal clothes, medicine and bandages.
We met many refugees there, including Mr. Anatilij from Bucza (pictured with priest Jan Podobiński), whose house was hit by a bullet and “split completely”. We also exchanged a few sentences in the family of Mariupol, they lost absolutely everything…. It was even hard to ask them something specific so they wouldn’t suffer even more 😢. (P. Piotr Chmielecki SCJ)
22.04.11 Palm Sunday in Perszotravensk
Humanitarian aid was received (almost all) in Perszotravensk in the Zhytomyr region. “Almost all”, because the carabinieri and the military of the territorial defense asked for… water and sugar
Yesterday Fr. Jan Podobiński and Fr. Andrzej Sobieraj celebrated the solemn liturgy of Palm Sunday. Fr. Andrzej also celebrated his birthday and as a gift from the peopole he received: a prayer 🙏, good wishes 🎉, chocolates 🍫 and a hymn of Ukraine sung at the top of his voice. (misjesercanow.pl – zbieramto.pl)
22.04.07 Irpien is getting cleaned up.
Today, with the help of about 300 volunteers and 20 technical units, our security services have cleaned up about 20% of Irpien’s streets. At first, the streets were tidy. So that they could be driven. Later, the ruins of the houses will be removed.
22.04.06 The Life of Refugees in Poland
Because of the still dynamic war situation in Ukraine and the increasing number of refugees arriving in many cities our congregation in Koszyce Małe near Tarnów has made a part of our monastery available to refugees from Ukraine. The reception of groups of pilgrims has been suspended in order to give accommodation to those in need. Currently there are almost 20 people, mostly mothers with children (the youngest is nine months old). There is also an elderly couple in Has.
Those who come to our house in Koszyce always express their gratitude. The gratitude is all the greater because they did not expect such open hearts. “From the beginning of their stay under our roof – as the director of the retreat house in Koszyce Małe, Fr. Dr. Damian Płatek SCJ says – the guests very often say the word – thank you!”. But also the question – how long can we stay here?”. They are very grateful that we gave them a home and they are very committed: As Catholics, they are present at the Sunday service in the parish church run by Sacred Heart. During the service, they read read readings in Ukrainian.
The ladies took the initiative to cook. They distributed their shifts among themselves. They cleaned the whole house and did laundry. They help in the garden next to the house.
Thanks to the initiative of the local elderly group, the ladies learned how to make Easter palms. The income from the sales goes to their needs. The one gentleman who lived in the Sacred Heart Monastery in Koszyce Małe found work in the construction industry.
The ladies also started looking for work in their professions. One is working as a nurse and another as a beautician. They also started learning Polish to communicate better. The children, in turn, attended local schools for a few days.
A Ukrainian woman who has lived in Koszyce for many years and helps refugees with integration, translation and registration is a great help. She is heavily involved in all local fronts, especially translation. This is a great help for the refugees in Koszyce.
We thank God for all the solidarity and brotherhood we are currently experiencing on many fronts. (Fr Damian Płatek SCJ)
22.04.05 Prayer and blessing of children
In Pirwszotrawiensk prayer and blessing of children. With the liberation of Kiev we feel safer. There is more hope for Ukrainians, despite the horrific scenes of war crimes.
22.04.03 What happened now in Irpien?
From the drone you can see how the city was.
It’s free now. But many buildings were destroyed.
Many want this war to end.
That it would be possible to help the poor.
More and more people are starving now in Ukraine.
This country is rated as the poorest in the world.
Nobody wants Ukraine to be alone with these problems.
22.03.29 Irpin free
The 33rd day of resistance of the Ukrainian people is coming to an end.
The situation on the fronts has practically stabilized. It seems that Russian soldiers really don’t have the resources to resume crucial offensive operations.
To the joy of the residents of Ukraine, Irpen – the gates of Kiev is free again. The people have hope.
Many talked about the possibility of returning home, because the city, which was on the way to Kyiv, is free again.
But the military is warning. They say the war isn’t over yet. In the city it is still dangerous to return.
People pray for peace.
What we invite to you: Pray for Ukraine!
22.03.25 In conversation with Fr. Andrzej from Pierwszotrawieńsk
How do the priests of the Sacred Heart feel?
Andrzej > At the moment the worst situation is that of Fr. Tadeusz Wołos SCJ in Irpien near Kiev. Pierwszotrawieńsk is not bombed. The situation is stable. But there is uncertainty because the war continues. There is uncertainty about the future. We are with the people in prayer. Many people come to mass, to worship. We pray for peace. Many people go to confession. We are also looking for help to help those in need.
What is needed?
Mostly clothes, shoes, food, medical items, baby food, hygiene products (soaps, shampoos, diapers). It must be understood that people sometimes come to strangers empty-handed. They are fleeing from the harsh war. Deprived of things to take with them, without the basics, without personal hygiene.
How are things transported?
Sometimes we have taken things from the border. Last time things were transported to Pliszczyn, near Lublin. We went three times to Pliszczyn to get our things. Transportation at this time is very important. Right now we need mostly fuel and money for fuel.
Where will the things be transported?
They are being transported to Pierwszotrawiensk (Zytomir region). This there is an intermediate station. We unpack the things here. We check what we have. Then we go to Zytomyr and to Kiev. Today we also delivered aid to Kharkiv. (So first of all we give aid to war zones. In this the volunteers help us. Here 15 people.
For whom are these relief goods first of all?
These things in Pierwsyomaisk are mainly for refugees. For the people of Kiev and Kharkiv. That is, for people from the places most affected by the war. For those who ran away from home and left everything behind.
When the family comes to us, we give them an aid package that contains everything that is most urgent. Food, clothes, hygiene products.
In addition to this, the elderly and lonely people are especially in need. Even in areas where there is no war. Even here in Pierwsyotrawiensk the elderly and lonely people live without a pension. They often lack the basics as well.
22.04.24 Irpin: Fr. Tadeusz Wolos stays and the Russians plunder the town
In our parish in Irpen continues to be Fr. Tadeusz Wolos.
The media says that the Russians are blocked near Irpen, plundering houses and stores.
P. Andrzej, as you can see from the photos, is transporting more and more aid to Pierszotraviensk and then to the war zones. You can see that more and more aid is coming to Ukraine.
Everyone is praying for peace in Ukraine.
22.03.23 Ukrainian refugees hosted in Poland.
The war in Ukraine has been continuing for almost a month. Every day the battlefield expands and more and more people are fleeing the bombardments. Still, life must go on, despite the fighting on the other side of our eastern border. Even here – in our Sacred Heart communities where many refugees have been assisted – life goes on. In ten of our monasteries (these are two houses in Warsaw and two in Krakow, the H’user in Stadniki, Węglówka, Koszyce Małe, Glisne, Pliszczyn, Kluczbork) there are currently over 117 people, including 58 children. According to Fr. Witold Januś SCJ – Coordinator for Refugees of the Polish Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, this number is growing every day.
Ukrainian families have not only found refuge in the houses of the Sacred Heart, but also – as in the case of the parish of Bełchatów – 45 people are hosted by the families of the parish. Some of the people housed in our monasteries have been working for some time, children have found places in kindergartens, nurseries and schools. From day to day, a few or dozens of people come to the individual monasteries. Some of them plan to stay longer. For many, it is a temporary stay on the way to other places of care.
In addition to our Polish province, seven other SCJ provinces from other countries have joined us. Representatives of movements, communities and lay people also participate in a variety of relief activities for people connected to our individual communities (in each province – both at home and abroad). They prepare transports of food, medicine and cleaning supplies. Members of some religious houses or Friends of the Sacred Heart priests (parishioners and volunteers) also help by distributing meals and packages, assisting in the care of children, and organizing educational and recreational activities for them. Language courses (especially English or Polish) are organized here. Legal and psychological help is offered in several centers. Ukrainians can count on help in obtaining the necessary documents to accept a job, live independently or receive benefits on time.
22.03.21 Fr. Piotr Kuszman SCJ from Transnistria
The Parish of the Roman Catholic Church “of the Holy Trinity” offers support to refugees. Food and hygiene items have been bought for the needy, and sweets for children.Catholics from Transnistria continue to provide assistance to citizens of Ukraine.
22.03.19 Siergiej Babic: Thank you so much for your presence and your prayers
I thank you for your prayers, because this is the most important means to find peace. Unfortunately you know that my homeland is being attacked in a brutal way. We are exterminated by Russians for one reason only because we are Ukrainians and Ukraine exists.
My story is the same as many other stories. I left Irpin city to the northwest of Kiev to help the Ukrainian Red Cross because I am also a medical student. There in Irpen is our parish, where some students lived. Day after day these poor people are suffering terribly under the bombs.
There is no water, but there is the source of the water of life. No electricity, but there is the strong energy of freedom and solidarity. No heating, but there is the fire of hope.
And it is not normal that young people have to die for an absurd war. We have to travel to stay alive. And you could come here to see how fantastic my homeland is. I could make a friendship with you instead, that’s how it is.
To finish my story I would like to read the words from the book of the prophet Jeremiah: “
Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jer 17:7-8)
Thank you so much for your presence and your prayers.
We are strong and we are close.
22.03.18 – Humanitarian aid from the Polish-Ukrainian border
The Dehonians of Pierszotrawieńsk have organized a transport of humanitarian aid from the Polish-Ukrainian border.
Humanitarian aid, including food and medical products, blankets, sleeping bags and clothes, will be transferred to the places most affected by the war, namely in the vicinity of Kiev, Irpień, Zytomiez and Nowograd Wolynski.
22.03.17 Fr. Slawomir Czulak SCJ to Help Ukraine
Slawomir Czulak SCJ a priest from Millstätter initated to help the Ukraine with an appeal for donations. The 52-year-old regularly delivers relief supplies to Poland and Ukraine.
The pictures from Ukraine stunned us. Many people do not want to stand by and organize various relief actions for those who are holding out in bombed-out cities in Ukraine and for those who are fleeing.
“The vicarage in Millstatt is full of relief supplies! Today the third large truck is going to Poland, where a large number of refugees are looking for protection,” says Slawomir Czulak, who, as reported, triggered a wave of willingness to help with a call for donations on Facebook. “All of city Oberkärnten brings the donations to us in Millstatt,” says the priest, who travels to his home country almost every two days to help.
His last post on Facebook was a call for help too:
“UPDATE: Tomorrow at 11 a.m. another large transporter will be coming to Millstatt to bring the donations to Poland. Everyone who has the time and desire to help with loading is very welcome! THANKS!” ( https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009901117437)
22.03.16 Fr. Andrzej Sobierai from Ukraine
My name is Father Andrew.
I am a priest of the Sacred Heart and I would like to say a few words.
At the beginning I apologize that my German is not strong, because after 30 years I have not done anything [learned]. But now I try to explain a little bit about the situation here in Ukraine.
We are from parish and monastery of Sacred Heart priests from Pierwszotrawiensk. We do for [the poor]. We give [distribute] the help in Ukraine, where are the sufferers and where is need.
We got a little bit better here [than in the rest of the country].
We can provide food, the heating and everything we need for a normal life.
We are engaged in humanitarian aid. We help the humanitarian transports from Poland.
(From Laban – this is a town, from Krosno Olszanskie – this is West Poland).
From Germany we have received help from Augsburg. From Father Robert Gran. From Osterreich from Fr. Vögel. From parish of Harzkirchen from Father Gregor. We would like to thank you very much for all the help [sent] to us, because the help does not stay with us.
We send them where help is urgently needed.
We are also helped by people, volunteers from the parish.
Thank you for short conversation, interview. We wish you all the best and thank you for the efforts that the whole Western Europe is doing. Which have as a goal – the end of this terrible war.
22.03.15 Easter Palms
All of Poland is taking in refugees. People here are involved in different arts. There is only one wish, that the refugees forget the war. To make you feel at home here. That there was contact with them.
Very interesting activities are carried out in one of our monasteries.
In Koszice Małe, our Sacred Heart Monastery took in a group of war refugees from Ukraine. Starting tomorrow, the seniors’ club ladies will be teaching YOU to make EASTER PALMS from BLUE AND YELLOW tissue paper. These are donations in support of the assistance that firefighters from the volunteer fire brigade (volunteer fire brigade) are providing to Ukraine. They are available during Lent after Sunday Masses. It will be help for the refugees themselves, for children and adults. They may feel guilty because they are already safe and their relatives are being left behind in Ukraine. Being far from their husbands and fathers, elder sons and brothers, they can help them in this way. This creates a community, also with the local community, because they will be making these palms together.
22.03.13 – Mass with Prayer for Peace in Pierszotrawieńsk
The church was full of people. At the beginning the Song was sung
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy and Immortal Have mercy on us…
From air, hunger, fire and war, deliver us, Lord!
From sudden and unexpected death Save us, O Lord!
We sinners ask You, O God, to listen to us, Lord!
The people at this Mass were on the floor with their cross in front of the altar.
In humility before God, the people asked for peace.
They distributed the aid to those most in need. That is, it was given to migrant families and the elderly.
People’s lives are getting worse. They have not received their pensions this month. They are running out of medicines and products. Small towns in Ukraine are simply forgotten.
Transport is needed. We need transport to bring the aid that is already in Poland to Ukraine.
Fierce fighting continues in Irpin.
Bodies are lying in the streets.
During this Sunday, whole families are buried by fences, by the car park.
22.03.12 “We brought humanitarian aid from Poland “
The parish priest is Fr. Jan Podobinski SCJ He managed to collect humanitarian aid in Poland and organize the delivery of this aid to the border from Ukraine.
Fr. Andrzej (in the video) “We brought humanitarian aid from Poland but also helped others.
There was some free space in the bus. And we brought aid from Lviv to Zytomer.”
22.03.11 The war in Ukraine continues and the reception of refugees in Krakow
In Ukraine, the war continues.
Russian soldiers, despite their large numbers, are not advancing further.
They are only focusing on bombing more and more cities lately.
Meanwhile, there are refugees in other countries.
First of all, in Poland, where our confreres work.
Everyone has rushed to help.
This can be seen, for example, in the account of Father Grzegorz Gąkiewicz SCJ from Cracow.
In it, Fr. Grzegorz thanks us for our help.
22.03.10 – Fr. Andrzej Olejnik: “I ask you to pray together”
Dear brothers and sisters.
As you know, I am not in Irpin now, but in the Zytomyr region with our priests. However, I would like to join you in prayer. I would like us to pray together to Christ.
We read in the Holy Scriptures:
“Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20).
So I ask you to pray together now.
I pray for my own intention.
I pray for peace in Ukraine. Because we would win this war as soon as possible.
I pray for our community. For all who have suffered and are suffering today. I pray for each of you who are in different parts of Ukraine or abroad, that God will bless you.
22.03.09 -Fr. Andrzej Olejnik, Fr. Tadeusz and Sergei
(misjesercanow.pl – zbieramto.pl). We posted two days ago that Br. Andrzej Olejnik SCJ left Irpień near Kiev. Around town is constantly fierce fighting. Fr. Andrzej managed to get to the Sacred Heart priests in Perszotraweńsk (about 60 km from Żytomierz), where last night he held a catechesis for local youth 😍. He was assisted by Sergei – a student and resident of the Stdentenheim in Irpien. He is a 5th year medical student. Therefore, he also conducts first aid courses for the locals.
***UPDATE Fr. Tadeusz spoke by phone with the Bishop of the Kiev-Zytomyr Diocese. Thank you for your prayers (mail)
22.03.07 – Fr. Andrzej is alive!
(misjesercanow.pl – zbieramto.pl) We had no news of Fr. Andrzej for two days. The Polish Mission Office has reported that he is still alive: “Fr. Andrzej is alive! This is the best news we can share with you at this time. Like more than half of the inhabitants of Irpin, he was evacuated to Kiev.
Irpian, in which intense fighting lasted, has been almost completely destroyed. No water, electricity, heating. After the bridge was blown up, no one could move by car, so people left their cars and walked together with children, animals, suitcases, strollers. Despite the fact that bombs are also falling on Kiev, civilians have no choice but to seek temporary shelter right there. The road to the west is cut off. (https://www.facebook.com/zbieramto/)
22.03.05 – May we find the ability to forgive all those who have hurt us!
“Hope in the Lord and He will protect you.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We have begun the season of Lent.
God is calling us to conversion.
May we find the ability to forgive all those who have hurt us!
For God says, “he who is merciful will show mercy.”
Today I will pray according to the intentions of the Mass, but also for peace in Ukraine.
May God give us victory in this difficult time.
I pray for all those who have died tonight, and for those who have fallen. In my heart I also have all the parishioners and residents of our town of Irpen.
For Ukraine and for all those who need our prayers. Because maybe someone needs them right now, but can’t reach us with a request. We also pray for those who are suffering.
22.03.04 – It’s like this all day today
Dzisiaj cały dzień taka stuacja. Strzelają bardzo blisko w miejscowości Bucza. Cały dzień jest tam starcie. Strały ze zbroi. Strzały z artylerii. Widać jak cały choryzony jest zadymiony. Coś się pali bardzo mocno.
It’s like this all day today. Explosions are heard in the village of Buca. There is fighting all day long. shots. artillery shots. You can see how the whole horizon is smoked. Something is burning.
22.03.03 Please pray for us
VCJ! I am in the parish of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. In the parish, and as you know, there is a serious war in Ukraine. We cannot live normally now, because instead of the alarm clock we hear explosions in the morning. Maybe you can hear them even now.
What can we say? Please pray for us, for this war to end as soon as possible. Maybe peace will come to our country, so that people will not suffer anymore. Right now we are experiencing a great tragedy in Ukraine.
May this tragedy, this horror, end as soon as possible!
22.03.02 We try to help these people by celebrating Mass
I am Fr. Andrzej Olejnik SCJ. I am in Irpeni, which is now the epicenter of the fight. we are on the front line. The situation is very tough. There were alarms all the day today. The night is ahead of us. There will be bombing from 2:00 to 4:00 am night and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 am we have an emergency. The light cannot be turned on during this time.
On Ash Wednesday. In the afternoon, we celebrated Mass. Only 10 people attended.
We try to help these people by celebrating Mass. We help them mentally, morally and spiritually.
People are looking for the support because they live in constant fear.
Previously, we ran the project: student dormitory. It costed us 100/200 Euro a month.
Students left our center. One of the students helps in the maternity hospital in Kiev because he is a medical student.
Despite the difficult situation, the first charity aid came from Kiev. Even the municipal service came to repair installations on one of the streets in the afternoon.
“In the morning from 7 hours we started flying planes and there were shots I don’t know who was shaking very loudly the house, I heard shots of our Artillery, we have an air alarm and we have to hide in a safe place, we sit on the floor of the house, we’re sitting, I wanted to hold a mass at 12 online, but postponed it to 14, maybe it will subside.”
22.03.01 – They ask about health and needs
Today I started the day with prayer. At 9.00 I went shopping to buy bread and the products. Two hours had to wait in line. First humanitarian aid is already reaching the city.
The road is completely destroyed. As if a storm had passed.
After returning home, the Online Diocesan-conference began. Kiev is in area the largest Catholic diocese in Europe. The situations of the priests are very different and dynamic. However, many are looking for help. The priests are helping each other.
At 2 pm, Fr. Andrew celebrates Mass on line. In the Holy Mass, 10/15 people participate. Not everyone has an internet connection.
In the afternoon, the priests will call the parishioners. They ask about health and needs. The contact of the shepherds with people for the dehonians is very important.
This is how it looks today in Ukraine.