Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Czech Republic

Polish Church: solidarity with Ukrainian familiesPolish bishops continue their prayers “for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine” and convey their “solidarity and fraternal support to the Ukrainian population.” The bishops also promoted the Caritas initiative for support to Ukrainian families. The purpose of the initiative “from family to family” is to help citizens living in Ukrainian dioceses. The collection of aid parcels to be sent to Ukraine free of postal charges (also Ukraine’s Post Offices support the initiative) is being promoted across churches in the Country. The director of Caritas Poland, Fr Marian Subocz, highlighted the generosity of those bringing aids to Urkainian families “which often give financial contributions to Caritas initiatives” aimed at providing medicines and healthcare goods to the needy. “Often – Subocz said – the donors put letters inside the parcels with requests of direct contact with Ukrainian families.” Moreover, 120 people wounded in the recent clashes in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities are being treated in Polish hospitals.Caritas Portugal: fund collection campaign Owing to the cooperation of thousands of volunteers, starting March 20 Caritas Portugal promoted a national public campaign in shops throughout the country for a fund-collection in favour of social projects developed by several dioceses. “Without the contribution of each one of us a true understanding of the common good will never be affirmed”, states a communiqué released by Caritas President Eugénio Fonseca: “Each offering is a gesture by the community, but it’s also a challenge reminding Portuguese citizens that we’re all involved in the building of a just society based on solidarity.” The public campaign that in 2013 collected over 296 thousand euros, despite economic difficulties worsened by the government’s austerity measures, is an initiative of national Caritas week, organized until next Sunday on the theme: “United in love, together against hunger.” Last year, the donations collection enabled the Portuguese organization to help over 139 thousand people, representing 52 thousand families, in the attempt “to respond to the problems linked to unemployment, low wages, rents and food necessities.”Slovakia: the family in pictures and words “Family – a place of love and life” is the main topic of the literary and visual art competition, launched this week by the Forum of Christian Institutions and the Association of Catholic Schools of Slovakia on the occasion of the Family Day 2014. The aim of the contest is to describe some of the pleasant and happy moments experienced in families and to invite young people to reflect over the value of natural family consisting of father, mother and children. “Many young people experience safety, satisfaction and peace within their families and their participation on the context may be understood as an expression of gratitude for what they have at home and what could serve as a ground and inspiration for establishment of their own family in the future”, explains Jozef Predác, national coordinator of the project. On the other side – according to Ján Horecký, president of the Association of Catholic Schools – we witness problems in dysfunctional families that aren´t able to offer the children a place of comfort and happiness. The competition is aimed for the pupils and students of basic and secondary schools in Slovakia, and the deadline for submission of their creative works is 25 April 2014. For more information: www.denrodiny.skCzech Republic: Prague preparations for Taizé 2014A website www.taizepraha.cz is being launched this week in the Czech republic on the occasion of traditional European Youth meeting of Taizé, due to be hosted by Prague parishes and communities from 29 December 2014 till 2 January 2015. It was announced during the press conference with participation of Fr. Wojtek and Fr. András from the Taizé community. The ecumenical youth meeting expects participation of 20-25 thousand of young people, with main program to také place in Prague – Letnany. Before the noon they will participate in individual programs in about 150 parishes and communities all around the city, afternoon schedule will be filled with prayers in the biggest Prague churches, workshops and topical discussions in the centre of the Prague and its quarter Letnany. “People coming to Prague will not be tourists, they will be the people who want to experience something special with inhabitants of the Czech capital. There will definitely will be many Christians searching for the sense of their lives, but these European meetings host also the people who are not members of any Church”.

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