The parish of St Klemens Hofbauer in Warsaw, run by the Redemptorists, follows the example of its patron by helping Ukrainian families with children who have fled the war and are now seeking refuge in Poland. In cooperation with the Knights of Columbus, a ‘Mercy Centre’ was established at the parish, opening its doors on 2 April 2022.
Fr. Andrzej Kukła, C.Ss.R., coordinating the project, gives a brief account of it: In our Centre, we have 50 children from Ukraine who can benefit from free and professional care by educators and a child psychologist from Ukraine. Children can use the Center from 9.00 am. to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday. They receive three free meals a day. In the last month, children took advantage of many attractions in Warsaw, such as the LEGO Exhibition, the Copernicus Science Center, the Army Museum, and the Dollhouse Museum. They spend a lot of time playing outdoor sports games.
The war atrocities have left profound traces in life of many refugees. In many cases, children have witnessed the death of their loved ones and closest neighbours; they suffer separation from their relatives, still concerned about their fate. To address traumatic experiences and problems adapting to the new environment, the Mercy Center plans to develop long-term psychological and spiritual assistance. – We want to organize a one-year program for up to 500 persons, children and adults – explains Fr. Andrzej. The project would involve coordinating and financing psychological therapy and stress and anxiety therapy for children from Ukraine and their relatives.