United around Mary
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
In May numerous Poles, including those living abroad, gather around the Queen of Poland in various places, not only at Jasna Gora. Meetings to show the veneration of Mary are occasions for patriotic events, which are especially characteristic of Polish immigrants’ environments. Since Poland is not only people living between the Oder River and the Bug River but also ca. 20 million fellow countrymen scattered all over the world. Therefore, our society is very big. There are many people who think and express themselves in Polish. The national awareness of the Polish immigrants around the world experienced revival when our fellow countryman became Pope John Paul II. Many Polish immigrants began talking about their background and are proud of being Polish. Today one talks about various expectations of the Polish community concerning their homeland, including Karta Polaka [Pole’s Card or Polish Charter]. These are very important matters. One should care for the Polish people living abroad who are connected with their homeland. These bonds should be evident and vivid. In Torun there was the 13th Polonia Forum at the end of April. This event gathered Poles from various parts of the world (e.g. from Canada, Latin America, Europe). They discussed various issues since the problems of the Polish immigrants varied. But one thing is essential – these people think in Polish and love their fathers’ country. They would like to have better relationships with their country; they would like them to be formalised and they often expect some help from us. They needed such meetings very much. I had the occasion to participate in one of such meetings. I saw Polish immigrants experience their patriotism. I saw their reactions while watching the film about General Fieldorf ‘Nil’ (his bust was placed next to many wonderful historical figures in the courtyard of the Redemptorist Fathers’ monastery in Torun; the celebration of unveiling the bust was graced by the presence of its donators and the daughter of General Nil). Many a time they recollect their own fates and difficult historical turmoil, which made them go to the ends of the earth. Additionally, one can clearly see the oppressors who deliberately destroyed the Polish spirit and Poles and who really deserve to be condemned and rejected and who often still occupy the highest posts.
We must respect our national identity. Let us remember how beautifully the Holy Father John Paul II did it. He was the greatest ambassador of Poland in the world. We should follow him, always carrying in our hearts what is most precious to our homeland, what is most characteristic of her, ‘what Poland is.’ We have been harmed strongly, conflict-ridden and disappointed. But these emotions cannot dominate us. Let us not be controlled by regret, harm and perhaps hatred since they always lead to destruction and even bigger pain. Instead, we should build! Poland is our homeland and we must sometimes show much patience and prudence like in a family. Let us remember that if we fail or experience some setback it most frequently happens when we are weak and do not show solidarity. The activities of the Bishops’ Conference – through the person of the bishop, delegate for Polish immigrants, aim at uniting spiritually Polish people so that we could live in unity. We have large Polish communities, e.g. in Chicago, and at the same time we are not as strong as to allow divisions. We should make bigger efforts aiming at integrating Polish immigrants’ communities. May Our Lady of Jasna Gora, the Queen of Poland, gather us at her Miraculous Image, and ‘Niedziela’ will try to help them doing that. When we experience the Marian celebrations in May, when we recollect the heroes of the battle for Monte Cassino, when in the evening we can hear the words of melody of the Litany of Loreto, when we listen to the bishops speaking in the Jasna Gora sanctuary – may it be for us an occasion to pray for us all in Poland and among Polish immigrants; let us say prayers for unity and solidarity of our nation. If we have such national identity like the beloved Pope John Paul II we will not be a threat to anyone but like him we will be able to serve the world with our intelligence, goodness, piety; we will – like the poet said grandiloquently – be a Christ of nations, the one that brings salvific, victorious ideas.