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Parish priest drives 20 hours straight to save children fleeing Chernobyl


Facebook ! Attilio Fontana

Gelsomino Del Guercio - published on 03/15/22

Fr. Giuseppe Tedesco took a minibus from northern Italy to the Polish border to pick up Ukrainian refugees.

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Fr. Giuseppe Tedesco is one of the many people who have sprung into action to help Ukrainians fleeing from the Russian invasion. The parish priest drove 20 hours straight in a minibus from Busto Arsizio in northern Italy to the Polish border to pick up eight Ukrainian refugees.

Thousands of refugees are fleeing from Ukraine. In Italy many dioceses are mobilizing to host them.

Accompanied by volunteers

Fr. Giuseppe was accompanied on his drive home by some volunteers and the Ukrainian refugees: six children between 9 and 15 years old, and a mother with her 18-day-old baby in her arms.

The parish priest spoke of this journey of mercy at a Sunday Mass at his parish, St. Joseph’s Church. News spread quickly among the people, and surprisingly, the mayor of the city, Emanuele Antonelli, was waiting for the minibus in the middle of the night, reports AGI.

Not their first time in Italy

The bond between Busto Arsizio and Ukraine is particularly close. The children that Fr. Giuseppe brought to Italy are from near Chernobyl. They have already been hosted in the city several times in the past, during summer vacation and beyond.

“Some of them had come back to visit us even at Christmas, and when I heard them on the phone, terrified by the bombs, I immediately had the idea of undertaking this journey,” Fr. Giuseppe told La Repubblica. “I asked my parishioners first of all to pray for peace. But this is a further concrete sign of closeness for people who are in difficulty.”

The police station in Busto prepared in record time the necessary documents to allow the Ukrainian refugees to enter Italy. “The parishioners held a fundraiser to finance our journey, and I am sure that other economic aid will arrive in the next few days,” continues the parish priest of St. Joseph’s parish. “I don’t think I’m doing anything exceptional. How could I have left them there with the war?”

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