Catholics in Poland to hold ‘day of solidarity’ with people of Afghanistan

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

The Catholic Church in Poland will hold a “day of solidarity” with the war-weary population of Afghanistan on Sept. 5.

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, the president of the Polish bishops’ conference, appealed to Catholics to offer prayers and financial support to the 38 million people in the Muslim majority country now under Taliban rule.

“Listening to the voice of Pope Francis, who called on all people of goodwill to ‘pray to the God of peace, so that the clash of arms may fall silent, and solutions may be found at the table of dialogue,’ I appeal to the pastors and the faithful of the Church in Poland for prayer and material assistance for the suffering people of Afghanistan,” Gądecki wrote in a message dated Aug. 27.

Poland’s bishops unanimously backed a nationwide campaign for Afghans caught in the current upheaval at a meeting at Jasna Góra, southern Poland, on Aug. 25.

Taliban fighters seized control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Aug. 15. The group’s rapid advance came as many Afghan civilians and U.S. citizens sought to leave the country before the complete withdrawal of U.S. and other forces.

As the evacuation program at Kabul airport ends, following a bombing that killed 13 U.S. service members, thousands of people are traveling to Afghanistan’s borders in an effort to escape the country.

Poland flew 937 Afghans out of Kabul airport during its evacuation operation. They will be supported by the authorities in the central European country.

In a separate development, a group of migrants from Afghanistan remains trapped in a standoff at the border between Poland and Belarus.

Catholics attending Masses across Poland on Sept. 5 will ask God for peace in Afghanistan during the Prayer of the Faithful. Proceeds from collections after Masses will support the work of Caritas with migrants and refugees, both in Poland and abroad.

“In partnership with Caritas in Pakistan, the country with the largest group of refugees from Afghanistan, a three-month humanitarian intervention of immediate assistance to some 1,500 families will begin,” Gądecki explained.

He added: “Caritas Polska will launch a nationwide program to support refugees in our homeland -- reaching from spiritual, psychological, and social assistance, to language, legal, and medical assistance, as well as career counseling, intercultural support, and volunteer support in parishes and media communication.”

After leading the Angelus on Aug. 29, Pope Francis underlined his concern for the Afghan people.

“In historical moments like this we cannot remain indifferent, the history of the Church teaches us this,” he said.

“As Christians, this situation commits us,” he continued. “That is why I appeal to everyone to intensify their prayer and to practice fasting. Prayer and fasting, prayer and penance.”

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