A “We” Virus?

by | Mar 18, 2022 | Conflict in Ukraine, Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

This Mindwalk begins with some little-known information about the Ukrainian tragedy unfolding before our eyes.  But it does more. It raises questions that go beyond the suffering of Ukrainians. It wonders about the need for a new “we” virus.

A headline that caught my attention

A million refugees, no refugee camps: Poles open their homes to Ukrainians (Crux )

The headline immediately caught my attention – especially since the reality as I write has swelled to more like two million.

The Polish Ambassador to the United States, Marek Magierowski, told CNN: “This is probably the first migration crisis in Europe’s history, in which the host country doesn’t need to build refugee camps.”

Beyond the headline

For Olga Panivnyk it is much more than a headline. She escaped Ukraine. A week later she said on Polish TV… “Here in Poland, I really felt what fraternity is,”

Amidst the tragedy, another story is unfolding. It is the story of the kind of fraternity Pope Francis writes about. It is the story of living out the words of another 2000-year-old headline – “Our Father”.

Pope Francis writes…

God willing, after all this, we will think no longer in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those’, but only ‘us’” (No. 35).

For this reason, I have wished to devote the Message for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees to the theme, Towards An Ever Wider “We”, in order to indicate a clear horizon for our common journey in this world.

See my previous Mindwalk Is the Our Father a challenging prayer?

A growing sense of “WE”

  • Jerzy Donimirski,  owns 5 luxury hotels in Kraków, He opened his four-star hotel in the heart of Kraków to refugees. At first 20 people –adults and children – occupied rooms in his hotel.  “I thought it’s not too much of a burden for our hotel to take 20 more,” so he sent another bus to the border with Ukraine. Today, he has 45 refugees in Hotel Polski.  Visit its website to appreciate what he is doing.
    • (Vincentians note: The hotel is about half a mile from a house Vincentians built in the late 1850s.)
  • Davide Martello travelled from Germany with a piano on wheels to bring some musical joy to the refugees. He welcomes them and inspires them with John Lennon’s internationally known peace anthem, “Imagine”. A giant white peace sign decorates the side of his piano. He says his aim is to use music to promote peace.
  • The owner of a shopping mall is converting a 40,000 square foot space for storage of clothing and other necessities. Another 60,000 square feet will be adapted for short time shelter.

People from all layers of society are living witnesses of “we”. a practical awareness of being sisters and brothers.

A virus we ought to help spread

Something is happening that cuts across all socio-economic levels. One might even say there is another kind of virus spreading throughout Poland.

In the spirit of Pope Francis, I would like to call it the “we” virus.  I see it as a “good virus” that counteracts the virus of violence and hatred. In biblical terms, we will, at last, recognize that we are our brother’s and sister’s keepers.

Hopefully, this virus will continue to mutate and raise our awareness of being “we”, truly a human family.

Is our working understanding of “Our Father” too small?

  • Does our understanding Our Father stop at the borders of our immediate family…  or our country?
  • If we believe the Poles, Ukrainians …and Russians are our brothers and sisters, what can we do beginning with ourselves?

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk


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1 Comment

  1. Ray E. Cartier

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