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Parishes reserved in response to Pope Francis’ call

THE SLOVAK Catholic Church is cagey about Pope Francis’ call on parishes to provide shelter to at least one refugee family each.

Illustrative stock photo(Source: SME)

The Conference of Bishops of Slovakia (KBS) plans to discuss the help to migrants at the pilgrimage site of Marianka (near Bratislava) on September 21-22. The representatives of other churches have been clearer about their ideas for help the refugees.

Currently there are almost 1,500 parishes in Slovakia.

“The Holy Father’s call has been made in the spirit of the Gospel, and the Catholic Church in Slovakia will attempt to help everyone who’s happened to be in need due to war or famine,” said KBS spokesperson Martin Kramara, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that KBS will seek to assist in the integration of all immigrants received by Slovakia. “We’ll do everything in our powers.”

The representatives of parishes addressed by the Sme daily were, however, more restrained regarding the questions. Some of them did not answer, while the others did not want to be identified. Some of them even expressed fear of their parishioners’ opinions. Though they agree with the pope, they cannot imagine implementing his call into practice. They allegedly lack enough space, as reported by Sme.

Meanwhile, the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia (ECAV), has announced that it will provide specific premises to serve as a temporary shelter for asylum seekers.

“We’ll receive with love mainly Christian families persecuted in their home countries ... ECAV will display generosity and hospitality to all those in need,” reads ECAV’s press release, as quoted by TASR.

Also Greek-Catholic Archbishop and Metropolitan of Prešov Ján Babjak offered to help Syrian refugees integrate into Slovak society. The refugee crisis has been deepening and it is high time to help them, as reported by the SITA newswire.

“Together with local communities we want to help these people by introducing them into the life of our parish communities and to do everything to help them feel like home in this new environment,” Babjak said, as quoted by SITA.

Among refugees from Syria there are also Greek Catholics who pray in Arabian, but in Byzantine rite, the archbishop stressed.

“Thus I am convinced that this religious proximity will help on both sides overcome certain cultural distance, concerns and our incorrect stereotypes on refugees, as well as their pain from leaving their homeland,” Babjak added.

Topic: Migration crisis


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