By:Daisuke Narui, SVD
There were so many refugees sitting on benches, floor, outside the station at the Vienna Central Station. Literally, the station was flooded with refugee people. At that time, most of refugees arriving at Vienna station do not remain in Austria, but proceed to Germany or other northern countries next morning. An SVD parish, Pfarre zum Göttlichen Wort, which is located near the station, has been helping those people and I could see a part of their activity on 14th September, 2015.
A parishioner told “I read article on Facebook that there is a center setup for refugees besides the main gate of Vienna Central Station.” So he visited the center on 5th September, and then got to know they need tents. The parish immediately decided to offer two big tents. The parish, led by Fr. Matthias Felber, SVD, sought if there is anything else they could do. They soon decided to open their parish hall and some other rooms for refugees one night stay.
The parish asked donation of mat, blanket, food, cloth, and other staffs such as sanitation kits, and the parishioners responded generously. They formed a volunteer team to welcome the refugees through cooking warm food, distribute clothes, and there were even some nurses in the team to meet the needs of sick. Fr. Hans Ettl, SVD always accompany those people arriving and leaving the parish hall with his big smile, and Fr. Albert Kodjo Pongo, SVD, opened the bathroom in his rectory for bathing since it is the only bathroom in the parish hall building. The Parish can accommodate maximum of 60 to 70 people, and the volunteer team prioritize women and children to stay one night since they are the one most vulnerable. When I said to a volunteer at the parish hall “your work is so impressive!” she immediately replied “this is nothing special. Of course we do”.
by: Fr. Albert Kodjo Pongo SVD
The SVD Parish (Pfarre zum Göttlichen Wort) in Vienna Austria has taken a bold step to help the Refugees. This Parish is located at the Main Train Station Vienna. It all started on Saturday 5th September 2015 when desperate Refugees arrived in Austria. Led by the Parish Priest Fr. Matthias Felber SVD we donated Food, Clothings and Tents to Caritas-Vienna. We also offered our Parish Hall to the Refugees, especially those who want to spend the night in Vienna. On Wednesday 9th September 30 Refugees spent a night in our Parish Hall and continued their journey the next day to Germany. On 10th, 8 refugees, then on 11th, 50-60 which most of them are children stayed overnight. Our Parish Hall is always open to every Refugee and we are also prepared to serve them with a good meal.