Lviv is now less dangerous than other cities. There are aviation alarms, but thank God there were no bombing. In Lviv we are hosting refugees in their transit to the border. First refugees came to us on Friday, the second day after the war has started.
From Friday till Sunday we have accommodated around 60 people, including 35 children, in our parochial rooms. They slept through the night, ate some food. They were people from places like: Kiev, Zhytomyr, Zaporozhye, Perszotrawiensk (near Mykolaiv), Kamienskie, Kryvyi rig, Khmelnytskyi. They come scared and exhausted. Driving through Ucraine takes a lot of time now due to traffic and a lot of checking points. A family of eight, which came this evening from the Mykolaiv region, left on Friday afternoon. Most of them after a day or two left to cross the border, some went to Transcarpathia, 8 people will stay longer. They know they will stand at least two days to get to the border. In the parochial house we have just one guest room, we prepared places to sleep in spare rooms. The parishioners are bringing mattresses, duvets, food. I have donated blankets and mattresses a family of parishioners, who are organizing help in Mosciski (before the border at szegini/medyk) for the ones standing in the queues at the border (the queue is 37 km long).
I stay here. All the church service continues as normal. Last Sunday less people came, because many avoid leaving their houses. Those who came stayed longer and organized a prayer together. Almost all parishioners from the neocatechumenal communities came to the service.
I asked the children (there were more than twenty at the service) if they’re scared. They said no, they beautifully recalled the words from that day’s liturgy.
The ardour of the parishioners is astounding. They prepared some meals, cooked dumplings, assembled the rooms for the people coming. Somebody donated 10000 hryvnias (a sum bigger than a monthly salary) on the first day of the war, expecting we’ll be hosting the refugees.
A sign of god’s union is a fact that interestingly, from Saturday evening till Sunday evening everyone staying at the parochial house (14 people) is a baptist and an evangelical (pentecostals) from Kiev, Zhytomyr, and Zaporozhye. They were at the mass at which they spoke… The parish of st. John Paul II includes the south part of Lviv (old Kulpark, Bobdarovka, Persenkovka and neighboring Lviv Sokolniki and Solonka). The church alone is on the other side of the street marking the border. We are on the outskirts of the city near the huge south road. It’s harder to get here, the movement of vehicles is significantly slower, because the roads are filled with “block post”, which are controlling the ones passing through (to protect from saboteurs).
The days are plodding on, it seems they last months.
Here we count the days of the war, it’s like a unit of measurement. On the first day of war, the third. Today (27th of February) is the fourth day of war.
Due to the fact that we host activities for children with autism here in the house of John Paul II, three families from Kiev with autistic children have contacted our teachers and are on their way from Kiev. They – if the God is merciful – will live with us from Tuesday, and the teachers will arrange lessons for them.
God is real and he helps. On the first day of war I was at a religious meeting in Transcarpathia, from where i immediately came back to Lviv. A few hours after the first attack on Ucraine, i received a call from catechists from Toruń (in 2019 they have hosted a group of our children) with questions about our needs of resources, and they sent help in no-time. Similar thing happened with one of the parishioners. The help received in the first hours of war, from people from here and Poland, allowed us to organize the first front of help. A lot of people declared the will to host refugees from Poland. And this way a family who had slept one night at our house, surprisingly quickly has arrived to Poland by bus. Thanks to the people from Tato.net (Dariusz Cupiał) the family has a place and the father of the family has found a job in Opoczno.
I haven’t noticed the war taking away hope, more like the opposite. A ten-years old Jakub from Kamieńskie (200 km from the Russian army) said ” why be scared, the God is here”.
Priest Grzegorz Fraud
The parish of John Paul II
81130 Sokolniki, Stryjska 6
Most urgent needs: thick mattresses and food, until the transport from Poland doesn’t start (if they came, they would have to come back extremely long blocking already overloaded border). I talked about it with the municipality of Lviv, they are working on providing a solution to enable the handling on the border, but for now I buy everything on site. I can retrieve from a polish account.
The parish of John Paul II in Lviv. Bank Pekao SA IBAN 86 1240 2395 1111 0010 6396 5945 BIC (CWIFT): BP KO PL PW