Polish Catholic Church to hold day of solidarity with Europe’s flood victims as death toll rises

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of the Polish Catholic bishops’ conference Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of the Polish Catholic bishops’ conference. | episkopat.pl.

The Catholic Church in Poland will hold a day of solidarity with flood victims across Europe.

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, the president of the Polish bishops’ conference, announced the initiative in a message to be read out in churches across Poland on July 18.

He said: “In recent days, we have witnessed many human dramas caused by violent storms and floods, both in our homeland and in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.”

“Many families have lost all their belongings, and the media are reporting deaths and missing persons, especially in Germany.”

He continued: “As the Church in Poland, we want to support those affected with our prayers and offerings. Let us implore of God hope for those who have suffered and a spirit of solidarity, care, and co-responsibility for all people of goodwill who can help the victims.”

“I ask that Sunday next, July 25, be a day dedicated in the Church in Poland to solidarity with the victims of floods and storms in Europe.”

At least 120 people have died in the floods as of July 16, with hundreds of others still missing.

The flooding, which has also affected Luxembourg and Switzerland, occurred when rivers burst their banks after record rainfall.

More than 100 people have died in Germany, prompting Pope Francis to send a telegram expressing his condolences.

“His Holiness remembers in prayer the people who have lost their lives and expresses his profound closeness to their families,” said the July 15 telegram sent on Pope Francis’ behalf to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

In his message, Gądecki, the vice-president of the Council of the Conferences of European Bishops (CCEE), encouraged parishes in Poland to remember the victims during the prayer of the faithful at Mass.

He appealed to parishes to hold a collection after Mass which Caritas Poland will then distribute to those affected.

“At the same time, I convey to the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium the expression of our support and the assurance of the spiritual closeness of the Church in Poland,” he said.

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