In the atmosphere of awaiting
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Helping believers become holy belongs to pastoral ministry of the Church. One important form of this ministry is a retreat. Although no Church commandment speaks about the obligation to participate in an Advent retreat people are encouraged to enrich their spiritual lives in this way. I think Advent retreats are very common in Poland nowadays, although I remember there was one period, after the war, without Advent retreats in Polish parishes. Some priests who were more pious than others introduced single days of Advent reflections. Today there is no need to convince anyone of this effective form of preparation before important religious events. The faithful go into retreat willingly. Therefore, when we observe parish life in our dioceses we notice that an Advent retreat is a norm. Priests invite retreat givers and preachers, and help believers find time for reflection and the sacrament of penance and reconciliation so that Lord Jesus, who was born in the Bethlehem manger, is born in human hearts as well.
Ideologically speaking it is very important to experience this beautiful awaiting Lord Jesus before Christmas. The Sundays of Advent are filled with God's Word, preparing us for the coming of the Messiah, and in Poland Advent is connected with early morning Mass (the so-called Roraty), i.e. Mass to worship the Blessed Mother. This creates certain specific family atmosphere, which causes that the entire family feels the need to prepare for Christmas. Advent pastoral ministry, the ministry that is of Marian character, also has a soteriological dimension, i.e. it prepares people to receive salvation, which is brought by Jesus, God Man whose human nature is so clearly showed in Christmas celebrations.
The feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is beautifully suited in Advent preparation before Christmas. Poland celebrates this feast, which was made popular by St Maximilian Kolbe, great worshipper of the Blessed Mother, not to mention the Servant of God Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, who organised Marian ministry with a lot of determination.
The Holy Father John Paul II stresses the role of Mary in the work of man's sanctification. He knows this is the simplest way to Lord God.
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For Advent and the coming Christmas the editors of 'Niedziela' prepared interesting books of the Library of 'Niedziela' (offered at a good price). If you buy books for more than 30 PLN you will have 30% reduction, and you have good books for yourself or for presents.
The collection of several dozen books, which have been beautifully edited, include books concerning the Eucharist, which is important in the Year of the Eucharist, and collections of poems, reports and travel memoirs, books concerning Christian political science, documents about lay deacons, several copies of the Four Gospels, the Acts, the Epistles and the Revelation (at a very low price). We offer a four volume set 'Nie ma innej Ziemi Obiecanej' (There is no other Promised Land), reflections for homilies for the Year A, B and C as well as a volume of examples to be used in sermons and homilies. Please pay attention to a collection of lovely, coloured children's books. Let us remember that a book is the most beautiful present for children.
Taking this occasion I want to remind you of our bimonthly Moje Pismo Tecza (for children at the age 4 - 8), which contains wise and rich texts, coloured stories and manual games (printed on good chalk paper). We encourage parents and grandparents to read Tecza to their kids.
I warmly invite you to use our offer. Simply phone the editorial board of 'Niedziela' and soon you will have books in your homes. Do not ignore wisdom!