According to the Order’s leadership, it has done something miraculous: It has unified Catholics and the people of Eastern Europe in an urgently needed way during the conflict. The Knights of Columbus have established “mercy huts” along the Polish-Ukrainian border to give medical supplies and other requirements. According to Czyszek, all monies generated will be used to assist refugees. He claims that the organization has generated about $4.5 million for individuals harmed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in less than two weeks. “A magnificent outpouring of sympathy and solidarity to greet the Ukrainian people,” he says.
The Knights of Columbus have established a new fund in Poland to assist those impacted by the demise of the Soviet Union. Czyszek: The new fund, Solidarity, refers to the post-World War II Solidarity Movement. This movement was founded by Polish peace activist Lech Walesa, who became Poland’s president and Pope John Paul II.
Moreover, Catholic Charities in Ukraine utilize its new Solidarity activity to show the Ukrainian people that they are there to foster unity when there are so many reasons to be divided. “When he thinks about the solidarity movement, he’s quite hopeful,” Czyszek adds. “It was truly a consciousness revolution that led to the demise of the Soviet Union.”
In Poland, collection points may be found in Kraków, Radom and Tomaszów Lubelski. The Knights of Columbus in Poland, which was founded in 2006, now have 6,840 members. Ukraine has 40 Knights councils created six years ago and has almost 2,000 members. Ukrainian Knights have formed an “Anti-Crisis Committee” to coordinate and distribute refugee relief.
The operation’s tagline is “Everybody Welcome, Everything Free,” keeping with the Knights’ history. “Many cities in Ukraine have been decimated,” says Czyszek, “And this will not be a short-term problem.” Therefore, “They aim to confront evil with good,” Czyszek adds, referring to the mission of the Knights of Columbus, which was created in New England a century ago. Father Michael McGivney was born in America to Irish immigrants when the anti-Irish feeling was widespread and hostile. His purpose was to provide men in his community with friendship and brotherhood, unlike saloons or secret clubs.