Poland’s Catholic bishops said on Tuesday that many Ukrainians “will not be able to survive” without continued help.

In a message issued on June 7, after their plenary meeting in Zakopane, southern Poland, the bishops said that Poles’ response to the arrival of more than three million refugees from Ukraine “deserves recognition.”

“They ask everyone to continue to help and show generosity towards our sisters and brothers who are still suffering because without help many of them will not be able to survive,” the bishops said.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, an estimated 3.9 million people have crossed the Poland–Ukraine border. Although the war is continuing, many Ukrainians have decided to return home.

A delegation of Polish bishops visited Ukraine on May 17-20. They met with laypeople and Church leaders in the capital, Kyiv, and also traveled to the formerly occupied cities of Irpin and Bucha to pray for the Ukrainians murdered there.

“The bishops are stirred by the cruelty of the war, which brings suffering to many people; and the experience of violence, that destroys human lives, dwellings, life plans, and dreams,” they said in their June 7 statement.

The bishops called for a “systematic approach” to helping the war’s victims both in Poland and Ukraine, saying “it is necessary that state institutions, local governments, NGOs, and parishes work together.”

During their plenary meeting, the bishops also discussed issues related to catechesis for children and adults, the Synod on Synodality, and the conclusion of the Amoris Laetitia Family Year.

The gathering was held on the 25th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s visit to Zakopane, a popular resort town at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. During a Mass, the bishops asked the Polish pope to intercede for Poland in difficult matters and entrusted all Poles at home and abroad to his intercession.

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