The experience of Gomulin
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
I would like to share with our Readers my experiences from a visit to the parish of Gomulin in the Diocese of Lodz. I have already mentioned this parish, which is unique in the Polish Catholic press market, namely every week ca. 370 copies of ‘Niedziela’ are distributed among ca. 2,000 parishioners in Gomulin. Generally speaking, the Catholic weekly is in every family there. In this parish there are ca. 40 distributors, so people do not buy the weekly only in the church, but the distributors take the copies to people’s homes. Among these God’s messengers there is also a young man on a wheelchair and he delivers ‘Niedziela’ to four families. How much one can do if one is willing… The parish of Gomulin celebrated its patron’s feast day (St Nicholas) on 6 December and the parish priest Fr Marian Wiewiorkowski invited me and other priests from our editorial board for that celebration. Several priests from the deanery came and it was Rev. Canon Wiktor Makowski, parish priest of St Peter’s and Paul’s in Luck, Ukraine, who delivered a sermon and also conducted Advent missions. This young canon, a great patriot, prepared the believers of St Nicholas’ Church for Christmas. One should add that Rev. Msgr. Wiewiorkowski cares about his parishioners very much, inviting various important people and musical groups to his parish. Suffice to say, the Polish President-in-exile Ryszard Kaczorowski visited the parish. People feel well in this parish. On the feast day the church was crowded. People sang beautifully and participated in the liturgy, listening to every word preached to them. One could notice that they had excellent contacts with their priest who knows all their names, is very straightforward and cordial. He stressed that many people, including the school, got involved in distributing ‘Niedziela.’ They came to like ‘Niedziela’. They read and pass its copies to others. And the parish priest has somehow based his ministry on the weekly, as Bishop Teodor Kubina said that ‘Niedziela’ would be an extra priest for the parish priest and an auxiliary for the bishop. Fr Wiewiorkowski made it real in his parish. And his strategy has turned out to be right. Since people know the teaching of the Holy Father, read the editorials of ‘Niedziela’, know the current news from the life of the Church and get to know commentaries on current social affairs. It is actually astonishing that they know ‘Niedziela’ in detail. When a group of our Readers from Gomulin paid a visit to our editorial board and we began discussing the contents of ‘Niedziela’ we had to be very careful not make any mistakes to avoid making fools of ourselves in the presence of these parishioners who knew our weekly so well.
So the parish of St Nicholas is ‘living’ the contents of ‘Niedziela’ and because ‘Niedziela’ transmits the word of God and builds a picture of the Church’s life, these people join the life of the whole Church through the Catholic periodical. I am writing about it since it is some hint for every priest who must build his pastoral ministry on the basis of something. This basis is the Catholic media. Naturally, pastoral ministry is based on the Good News and the teaching of the Bishops’ Conference but in everyday life a Catholic weekly can strengthen us in that. The weekly shows us the liturgical texts and also what Christians should reflect on during the week. The texts included in Catholic papers are as work of multiplied apostles who come to people and remind them of the teaching of Christ and his Church. The feast day in Gomulin made us edified very much. It was hard to say goodbye when we shook hands and said Christmas wishes. We wish we had such a parish in our diocese… We would be proud of it. Let us reflect on this form of evangelisation. May this Christmas be an occasion to read the Catholic press and marvel at its contents.