Pope Francis honors Ukrainian translator and thanks Poles for welcoming refugees

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Pope Francis urged people to remember Ukrainians in underground shelters seeking protection from bombings and thanked Poland for welcoming refugees from the war on Wednesday.

Francis spoke at his weekly Ash Wednesday general audience, which the Pope declared a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine.

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After addressing the pillars of the meeting, the Pontiff left the script and thanked a translator who accompanied him, Father Marek Viktor Gongalo, who is Ukrainian.

“His parents are now in an underground shelter to protect themselves from the bombs in a place near Kiev,” the pope said.

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“By accompanying him, we accompany all who are suffering from the bombers, including his elderly parents and many other elderly people who are defending themselves in shelters. We will remember these people in our hearts,” she said.

More than half a million Ukrainians have fled the conflict since the invasion began, most crossing into Poland and Romania.

“You were the first to support Ukraine, opening its borders, your hearts and the doors of your homes to Ukrainians fleeing the war,” the pope told Poles, through the translator.

“You are generously offering them everything they need to live with dignity despite the drama of the moment. I am deeply grateful for you and I bless you from the bottom of my heart,” she stated.

Francis called for humanitarian corridors to help refugees flee and told those waging war not to delude themselves into thinking God is on their side.

The Vatican called for an immediate end to the attack and said it was ready to “facilitate dialogue” between Russia and Ukraine.

Source: CNN Brasil

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