We are building a living monument to John Paul II
FR IRENEUSZ SKUBIS: – This year on 10 October we are celebrating the jubilee 10th Papal Day. What is the place of the Work of the New Millennium among the monuments to John Paul II?
REV. MSGR. JAN DROB: – The Foundation ‘Work of the New Millennium’, thanks to our love for John Paul II and the generosity of our society, is building a special monument, the material of which is not brass and bronze but a living person. Thus we are realising the spiritual will of the Holy Father John Paul II who following the spirit of the Second Vatican Council proclaimed that man was the way of the Church. We want our scholarship holders to be living monuments to the Holy Father and carriers of the remembrance of John Paul II. We are educating them in the spirit of the teaching of the Candidate for the altars so that they can meet the challenge of responsibility for the Church and Homeland, which they will experience in their adult lives.
– Please remind us of the most important ideas of the work.
– The Foundation was established in the year 2000 by the Polish Bishops’ Conference to co-ordinate the celebrations of the Papal Day. This year on 10 October we are celebrating the jubilee Tenth Papal Day, which has the motto, ‘John Paul II – courage of holiness.’ During the annual celebrations the Church organises public collections, the first ones after the war, to support educational scholarships. Our tasks also include: a large-scale scholarship programme for talented youth coming from small towns and villages, the TOTUS awards, intellectual and cultural projects concerning the papal teaching. At the moment we are co-ordinating a nine-month preparation of our fellow citizens for the beatification of the Servant of God; the preparation has the motto, ‘I am with you – message to Poles.’
– What can the Church be proud of and what are still the dreams of the Foundation?
– The very existence of the Foundation, called into being by the Polish Bishops’ Conference, is a success. We are glad that we are building a living monument, which embraces over 2,300 young people, including almost 1,000 students. Another important initiative is the Papal Day celebrated on the Sunday preceding 16 October, the day of the election of Karol Wojtyla to the See of Saint Peter. This day has become a stable element of the pastoral calendar of the Church, serving Poles and Polish communities all over the world. The TOTUS awards granted in four categories are prestigious. They are the most important awards of the Church in Poland.
We dream to give 1,000 scholarships for gymnasium pupils, 1,000 for high school students and 1,000 for students. It all depends on the benefactors, whom we are very grateful for their help and support. Praying for them every day we, together with all scholarship holders, thank them for the good. The scholarship holders who have already graduated intend to create an association that will let them continue their friendship, which has lasted for 10 years, and follow the ideas of John Paul II.
– What is your vision concerning the scholarship holders: who will they become for Poland?
– All things depend on their love for the Church, John Paul II and all those who have helped them develop their talents and in their education. We know that most of these young people, according to the teaching of John Paul II, want to ‘be than to have more.’ We pray they will fulfil our hopes.
– Talented people – is it a wish or task? And for whom?
– Talented people are a great gift of God for the Church and Homeland. However, one should remember that as the Holy Father John Paul II would have told, it is a gift and task for them and for all of us, concerned for the future of man and family. We must not waste or, God forbid, destroy this gift. We all are responsible for forming our young generations, i.e. all of us in the future since ‘like education of young people, like the condition of Poland.’ Let us hope that among other things, thanks to the scholarships the teaching of John Paul II will always yield fruit for our common good.