Describing the way of John Paul II
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The meeting promoting the book ‘Szlaki Papieskie’ [Papal Trails] by Urszula J. Wasiuk was held in the John Paul II Centre ‘Do Not Be Afraid’ in Krakow on 19 May 2008. This book has an interesting composition. On the one hand, the book is for tourists: it describes tourist trails, here the trails in Krakow-Czestochowa Jurassic Highland Chain, and on the other hand, it presents the figure of the Servant of God John Paul II. The Polish Jurassic Highland is a beautiful region. People travel there, admiring the monuments of nature as well as architectural monuments, old fortresses or their ruins. That’s why, the book is important. At the same time, it describes the ways of John Paul II as Cardinal Stanislaw Nagy, a friend of the Holy Father, former professor at the Catholic University of Lublin, said at the meeting. Cardinal Nagy promoted the book and made an interesting reflection on the pilgrimages of our great Pope. The Author of the book paid our attention to the words of John Paul II, which he had said during one of his pilgrimages to the Homeland. ‘Guard these trails for me’ as if he had wanted to save this important chapter of his life from oblivion. This chapter of his life was dedicated especially to his ministry among young people. They spent lots of time together; they prayed together; they observed nature and discovered God’s Philosophy. I know these ‘environments’ well and I know the roles they played since I was a students’ chaplain for 16 years myself. I was connected with the youth of the region of Czestochowa. We went on holiday together – to the seaside, to the mountains and the lakes. Fr Karol Wojtyla accompanied young people in their physical and spiritual growths. He made friends with many of them. With time, they called themselves ‘the environment of John Paul II’. Cardinal Nagy reminded the gathered of the ‘Roman Triptych: Meditations’ by John Paul II and said about the place in the Tatra Mountains where there was the stream, which the Pope had contemplated in his poem. He described the way the Holy Father had experienced the view of that crystal clear water on his trail. Such encounters were expressed in the poem of the Holy Father.
This volume of U. Wlasiuk’s guide will be valuable especially for those living close to Krakow-Czestochowa Highland Chain. There are four dioceses in this region: Czestochowa, Sosnowiec, Kielce and Krakow. The Author has already gathered materials for her next seven volumes presenting other Polish regions. She has worked on them for three years. I am convinced that this book will be very popular with readers. The first volume has nearly 400 pages and photos, which were almost miraculously preserved and are important witnesses of the way of John Paul II. The book contains maps, descriptions of little known places and numerous texts of those who travelled with the Pope as well as the statements of the Holy Father himself. Therefore, a wonderful work was created for those who want to travel with John Paul II in the Jurassic Highland and then in other regions of our country. I thank the Author for promoting this guide in Krakow. I express my profound gratitude to Cardinal Stanislaw Nagy for his loving memories of John Paul II and for his outlining the certain philosophy of the way the Pope chose. We are enthralled by the marvellous meeting. I also want to remind you of the Year of St Paul, which begins on 28 June 2008. The celebration of the 2000th anniversary of the birth of the Apostle to the Nations will last till 29 June 2009. Our editorial board has prepared a special album entitled ‘Sw Paul Apostol Narodow’ [Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Nations], which will be published with the issue of ‘Niedziela’ on 22 June 2008. It will be a big event and we want this book to reach as many readers as possible. You can buy the book entitled ‘Kroczac za sw. Pawlem’ [Following St Paul] written by a Ukrainian deacon Jacek Jan Pawlowiecz. The book consists of readings for June, which will prepare us for the Year of Saint Paul. The Library of ‘Niedziela’ is also working on a small album about Jasna Gora, which will be published in summer months when pilgrims go to the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Poland. You can also buy ‘Leksykon Kosciolow, ruchow religijnych i sekt w Polsce’ [A Lexicon of Churches, Religious Movements and Sects in Poland] by Bishop Zygmunt Pawlowicz of Gdansk. Summer vacations are approaching, so we should get interested in matters related to religious movements, the number of which is increasing. There are many people who feel at a loss. We have troubles with getting to know certain movements and sects. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are more active in summer. We must know about these matters since the consequences of contacts with sects are often tragic. Therefore, I invite you to use the books of the Library of ‘Niedziela’, which has 209 volumes. I also invite the little ones and their parents, grandparents and tutors to use ‘Moje Pismo Tecza’, prepared for pre-school children and those attending the first three grades. We want to help adults talk to children about God, using interesting texts, illustrations, games and contests.