On Saturday March 19, 2022, seven minibuses loaded with humanitarian aid from Barcelona reached the Polish border with Ukraine. It all began with the Sunday homilies of a friar from Poland who works in Spain.

Friar Marek WAWRZYSZKO, a native of Poland working in the Province of Our Lady of Monserrat in Spain, gave a series of presentations in the churches of Barcelona and Madrid for two Sundays. During his presentations, he showed war photos from Ukraine and connected via the Internet with the Custodial Vicar and Secretary of the Provincial Custody of the Holy Cross in Ukraine. “We talked about the situation in the Custody and in Ukraine, what is needed, etc. The people of Spain have open hearts and really admire the people of Poland,” he said with emotion.
It was then Mariano HERNÁNDEZ, a lawyer who attends in daily Mass with the Conventual Franciscans in Barcelona, made himself available to organize aid for the friaries in Ukraine and the people that the friars serve. Therefore, on March 17, 2022, seven minibuses, loaded with the most needed items, departed Barcelona. During their journey, the drivers rested at the Provincial Curia of the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar in Cracow. On March 19, they arrived at the friary in Kalwaria Pacławska, near the Ukrainian border, where they delivered the gifts to the friars of the Custody of the Holy Cross. On their return trip, they took refugees from Ukraine with them.
The Minister Provincial of Spain, Friar Juan Antonio ADÁNEZ SILVÁN, sent a letter to his confreres, asking them to mobilize their parishioners, relatives, friends and supporters in order to organize financial aid for Ukraine and for the refugees. In his appeal, he said: “We cannot sit idly by and watch old Europe bleed, this Europe that has always been haunted by the ghosts of war and totalitarianism.” He also told the friars to remember to pray to the Good Lord during this desperate situation, “so that hostilities cease soon and peace reigns in Ukraine and everywhere in the world.” He argued that their efforts and commitment are “the best way to start the Lenten journey and the best way to serve our brothers in need.”
Similar aid was organized by the Polish friars working in Blieskastel, Germany, near France. Their operation was also supported by evangelicals from Germany. The operation delivered hygiene and cosmetic items to the friary in Harmęże, near Auschwitz, Poland.

Friar Jan Maria SZEWEK