· Vatican City ·

Ukrainian women and children at risk from human traffickers

 Ukrainian women and children  at risk from human traffickers  ING-012
25 March 2022

Cardinal Mario Grech, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, sounds the alarm about the risk Ukrainian women and children refugees face at the hands of human traffickers.

“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 Msgr Piotr Jarecki, on Saturday afternoon, 19 March, Cardinal Grech visited the centre of Saint Margaret’s parish in Łomianki, a small town just outside Warsaw with 15,000 inhabitants, where 2300 refugees, especially women and children, are being 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. There, Cardinal Grech spent time, 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 met with clergy and parish contacts for the synod of the Warsaw Archdiocese to discuss the synodal process with them.

Addressing the more than 500 priests gathered at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Warsaw, Cardinal 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), Card. 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 importance 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 Cardinal Grech.

The Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops also met with the parish referents to dialogue with them on the role of the laity in the process. On Monday 21st, Cardinal Grech travelled to Częstochowa to entrust the synodal path to Our Lady.