Eleanor’s mother-in-law, who has been involved with the Neocatechumenal community for some 20 years as a missionary, received John Paul II’s blessing in Rome in the early 2000s.
“We wanted to be in his town,” Eleanor said. “There were many obstacles and difficulties on the road from Rivne to Kraków, and we overcame them each time miraculously.”
“Through the intercession of St. John Paul II, God led us to this residence, and he is now acting through all the great people around us, starting with the archbishop and his chaplain, Father Rafał Wilkołek, to protect us.”
“We now have everything our body and soul need, and we give thanks for that.”
Archbishop Jędraszewski visited Eleanor and her mother shortly after their arrival.
“I will never forget this encounter,” Eleanor said. “He is of great spiritual stature and embodies, in my eyes, the man with a capital M: he has a great spirit, an open heart, and full of love. May God protect him!”
Both Eleanor and her mother hope to return to Ukraine as soon as the war is over. For the time being, she worries about her husband, her two sons, and her sister who remain there.
There is a growing fear that western Ukraine will be attacked from its northern neighbor Belarus. The missionaries of the Neocatechumenal Way have reportedly left the area.
Meanwhile, Poland’s Catholics are helping the more than 2.1 million new arrivals from Ukraine. In the Kraków archdiocese alone, some 20,000 people are being supported in parishes, while 4,500 of them are being taken care of by the local branch of Caritas.
Caritas in Kraków has raised more than 1.5 million euros (around $1.65 million), thanks to the generosity of the city’s inhabitants, and distributes over 2,000 meals daily.
Agnieszka Homan, the charity’s spokeswoman in Kraków, told CNA that these figures do not include the countless personal initiatives of citizens or other local Catholic associations.
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“The community of Kraków is extremely generous,” she said. “Every week we receive truckloads of all kinds of basic necessities, which we have to manage and distribute. To date, we have also sent almost 300 tons of goods to Ukraine.”
“We are all exhausted but still determined to bring relief, by all possible means, to our Ukrainian brothers.”