22 September 2023
The solemn inauguration of the House of Mercy was graced by the presence of the Papal Almoner and Special Envoy of His Holiness Pope Francis for this occasion, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, Archbishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki, Metropolitan of Lviv, and the Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Lviv, Leon Mały and Eduard Kava. Also in attendance were the Superior General of the Albertine Sisters, Mother Teresa Maciuszek, the Superior of the Warsaw Province of the Albertine Sisters, Sister Silvana Hamond, representatives of Lviv city authorities, and numerous guests invited from Poland and Ukraine.
Before the opening, Holy Mass was celebrated, consecrating the chapel and living spaces for sisters who will reside, pray, and work there.
Addressing the guests, Archbishop Mieczysław expressed gratitude to Cardinal Krajewski for his presence and for blessing the foundation stone for the shelter and chapel in 2020. He thanked the Cardinal for his contributions, together with Pope Francis, to the construction. The Metropolitan thanked the Apostolic Nuncio for his visit to Lviv, his constant presence in Ukraine during the large-scale war, and his contribution to building God’s peace.
The Archbishop Mieczysław addressed the women residing in the House and the Sisters entrusted with their care:
— Dear women, I wish you that this building becomes your home, where you can find security, peace and a new enthusiasm for life. I would also like to address the Albertine sisters: it is good that you are here! It is good that you take upon your shoulders the gentle yoke of love. After all, you have already been doing this for several years in Lviv. I bow and express words of gratitude to the Superior Generals of the congregations. May the good you do for your neighbour return to you in human gratitude and in further blessing from God.
As a sign of gratitude and support, Archbishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki presented the sisters with an image of the Merciful Jesus.
Cardinal Krajewski blessed the chapel and the living spaces where the sisters will reside. During the homily of the Holy Mass, the high guest noted: despite air raid sirens interrupted the work several times and many workers being recalled to the army, this House was built regardless because every work of God must be completed.
— This house exists so that the sisters who have followed Christ can be here with Him – to ‘sunbathe’ before the Blessed Sacrament, receive Jesus ‘tanned’ and serve Him here, just like the women of the Gospel who followed Him for three years, stood under the cross, and were the first to meet Jesus after His resurrection. So, dear sisters, always be here with Jesus, always serve him in the poor. And this is literally what Brother Albert said: be as good as bread, which tastes better when shared with others, with those in need.
After the Holy Mass, the opening ceremony of the entire complex of the Blessed Bernardyna Jabłońska Ecumenical Centre of Mercy took place. The ceremony was attended by the mayor of Lviv, representatives of the regional military administration, representatives from the Consulate General of Poland in Lviv, and numerous guests from Ukraine and Poland. Addressing all those present, Cardinal Krajewski said:
— When Pope Francis heard that the house had been completed, he stated that it was a purely evangelical matter, as Jesus would have done the same, tirelessly seeking those in need from morning till night. Today, he has done the same through us. That is why we can now affirm that we are men of the Gospel. Let us therefore consecrate this house together, so that all those in need of help may find their refuge here. According to the original plan, it was meant to be a home for single mothers and women in crisis. But an open war broke out, so today this house is also intended to provide support for people who found themselves in Lviv, fleeing from areas affected by military operations and in need of temporary shelter and assistance.