Dear Friends,

Greetings from Poland!

It is our pleasure to share with you the latest news: we are now a foundation! We have finalized all the necessary administrative matters and we have officially become Pastoral Family Care Foundation under the leadership of Fr. Marek Machała.

The final months of 2022 were a busy time for us, so let us step back for a moment to show you a few highlights from November and December.

At the suggestion of our friend and volunteer, Sister Małgorzata, we took up the idea of preparing “trench candles” for soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They are made of cardboard sheets cut up into lines which are then twisted and fitted inside tin cans. The cans in turn are filled with wax and paraffin. They can have many uses for soldiers on the front lines.

We received an abundance of apples from a foundation based in Jarosław as well as a large quantity of walnuts from private donors. We welcomed these kind gifts with joy especially with the coming winter in mind. The apples and walnuts were distributed in our centers immediately. Beautiful tokens of gratitude were then presented to us on behalf of the inhabitants of our center in Zatwarnica.

Another concern related to winter is of course the flu season settling in. As in all places offering group accommodation, the threat of infections always needs to be taken into consideration. So once again we joined forces with our volunteer physicians who keep participating generously in our efforts to take care of our Ukrainian residents. At a special meeting, the doctors explained, with the help of our excellent Ukrainian-English interpreter Lily, the great importance of vaccinations.

There were some “usual” happenings, such as sorting donations…

…and some less usual, such as learning a song together or an outing to a chocolate parlor!

Another day brought an event which moved us a lot. We had to say goodbye to Fr. Józef who had worked with us for months. He belongs to the Society of the Divine Word Missionaries and in November he answered a call in his heart and took charge of one of the parishes in Ukraine where people had long been praying for a pastor. We invite you to support him with your prayers in this great challenge. He was given a warm send-off and even a portrait of himself drawn by our young residents. For his part, he left us a self-constructed little wayside shrine with the figure of the Blessed Mother.

In the meantime, another trip into Ukraine was being prepared. Sister Małgorzata and our driver Rafał were setting out for Ukraine’s capital Kiev with humanitarian aid. Needless to say, it was a very dangerous venture and we were all following them with our prayers every step of their way. It was a relief to see the first photo from their destination: at the home of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Another goodbye at our center in Zatwarnica followed shortly. In a way, we have gotten used to saying farewell to Dr. Brian since he has visited us as a volunteer very many times! Goodbyes are easier to handle when you have grounds to hope that you will meet again sooner or later. 🙂

And so life went on, amidst birthday celebrations, arts & crafts classes, various meetings, visits from an old friend-volunteer, and our sister running into Saint Nicolas and his helper right in front of the Przemyśl Seminary. 🙂

In the meantime, Fr. Marek participated in a very important event, the international summit “World for Ukraine.” He had a chance to meet new people and to share our story with them.

We also initiated an internet campaign “Offer Us One Day”, trying to obtain some funding for our centers:

Closer to Christmas, cardmaking and decorating the tree brought much fun:

Here are glimpses of Saint Nicolas’ later visit:

To complement the gifts brought on that occasion, some friends from Switzerland undertook a very long drive to Poland to offer their aid:

The end of the year was marked by another goodbye: Sister Małgorzata leaving for Ukraine. Thankfully, we can remain in touch via the internet!

We remain very grateful for every form of support directed to us.

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