Vatican City, 21 March 2022
"Ukrainian women and children must be 'protected' from human traffickers when they arrive in our countries from Ukraine". This is the alarm launched by Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, whilst meeting journalists on the sidelines of a visit to two Centres for refugees run by the Diocese of Warsaw.
Accompanied by Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz and Mgr Piotr Jarecki, Cardinal Grech visited on the afternoon of Saturday 19 March the centre of St Margaret's parish in Łomianki, a small town just outside Warsaw with 15,000 inhabitants, where 2300 refugees, especially women and children, are hosted by families from the parish, and the centre of "Dobre Miejsce", the diocesan house for spiritual exercises transformed for the occasion into a home for 100 refugees. Card. Grech spent time there, especially with the children, listening to their stories and witnessing to them the closeness of Pope Francis.
These meetings with the Ukrainian refugees took place during a four-day visit in which the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops is meeting with clergy and parish contacts for the synod of the Warsaw archdiocese to discuss the synod process with them.
Addressing the more than 500 priests gathered at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Warsaw, Card. Grech reiterated how the success of the synodal process "depends very much on the bishops and priests". On the day of the release of the Letter to Priests (signed jointly with the Prefect of the Vatican's dicastery for the clergy), Grech recalled the fear that arises among many priests that "excessive insistence on the importance of the People of God may cause us to lose sight of the relevance of priestly service in the Church". Instead, the Synod Secretary reiterated that "it is not a question of opposing priests to the People of God, because priests are also part of the People of God, by virtue of their baptism." The action of Pope Francis is aimed, instead, at grasping ever more fully the ecclesiology of the People of God, that is, at understanding the Church as the People of God, with the conviction that the "flock" has a sensum fidei to discern the new ways of proclaiming the Gospel that God suggests to the Church.
The meeting concluded with the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by Card. Grech (homily in Italian).
On Sunday 20 March, as part of his visit to the Archdiocese of Warsaw, Cardinal Mario Grech was able to visit some significant places in the diocese (the Shrine of Blessed Jerzy Popielszko, the Monument to the Warsaw Uprising, the Forensic Cathedral, the Museum of St John Paul II and Cardinal Wyszynski at the Divine Providence Centre).
During the morning, he met the parish referents for the Synod of the 220 parishes of the diocese and celebrated the Eucharist with them (homily in Italian).
In the afternoon, he met the seminarians of the Major Seminary and the Redemptoris Mater Missionary Seminary. The meeting, much felt by the clerics, was characterised by a lively and constructive dialogue between the candidates for the priesthood and the Cardinal.
Cardinal Grech concluded his visit to Poland on the morning of Monday 21 March with a pilgrimage to Częstochowa to entrust the synodal path to Our Lady.