SMOLEŃSK EPITAPH AS A SIGN OF THE NATIONAL REMEMBRANCE
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The day of 3 May 2012 at Jasna Góra has gone to history as exceptional. During the celebrations to adore the Blessed Mary the Queen of Poland, the Smoleńsk epitaph was sacrificed. This was an initiative of the Pauline Fathers – Jasna Góra guardians. The organisation and completing the project of the epitaph was supported by the Foundation ‘Pro Patria’. A great and important role was played by a coordinator of the initiative Piotr Grzybowski who with his wife led this work to a happy end. In front of the entrance to the Chapel of the Miraculous Image of Our lady, a significant sign of remembrance about great Poles appeared. John Paul II words come to mind who told us to put our ears in this place to the walls of Jasna Góra in order to hear this all what is happening in our homeland. And now these walls accepted a big monument of Poles which was built to commemorate remembrance about 96 victims of the Smoleńsk catastrophe, with the president of the Polish Republic prof. Lech Kaczyński.
Astonishment is aroused by the fact that the Smoleńsk epitaph is the first strong impression of what happened on 10 April 2010 at Smoleńsk. Our national heroes gave their life there, while going in a pilgrimage to Katyń on 70th anniversary of genocide committed by criminals from the order of Stalin and other leaders of the Soviet Union.
In Warsaw, apart from a graveyard, we do not have bigger signs of remembrance about the national catastrophe of Poles. Therefore, Jasna Góra, being a sanctuary of the nation and a place of the greatest remembrance of Poles, accepted this epitaph and the Pauline Fathers took care of appearing of the place of the holiest remembrance at Jasna Góra, after the last national heroes. The Smoleńsk epitaph contains a great symbolism. A board is mounted in it, which was removed by the Russian authorities from Smoleńsk, where it had been placed by the Polish delegation of families of the catastrophe victims. The consecration of the Smoleńsk epitaph was done by Archbishop Stanisław Gadecki, a metropolitan of Poznań and a vice-chairman of the Episcopal Conference, before the pontifical Holy Mass at Jasna Góra. Polish Bishops present at Jasna Góra on that day and the representatives of families of the Smolensk catastrophe victims participated in the act of consecration. During the Holy Mass the heroes from Smolensk and Katyń were mentioned and in this way pilgrims and participants in the ceremony via Catholic radio stations and the Television ‘Trwam’ could pray for the catastrophe victims.
I think that the epitaph will be an occasion for thousands of pilgrims going to the Chapel of Our Lady to look at this monument and recall the great days of the tragedy which touched our nation. It will also be an occasion to pray for our homeland, for the catastrophe victims and for those who were touched by it.
We are grateful to everybody who contributed to the appearance of this work. Let’s remember that it is a gesture of love towards our homeland and everything what composes Poland. And Poland is composed of great heroic days, historical days, days of glory and also tragic days like the one on 10 April 2010.
By the way I will add that the Catholic weekly ‘Sunday’ joined the initiative of commemorating the Smoleńsk catastrophe victims at Jasna Góra, publishing a special supplement entitled ‘Smoleńsk epitaph’ (‘Sunday’ no 19/2012). We would like the detailed information about this work reach to many people and remind them that Poland should live and listen to what God says through signs and words. May the remembrance about those who were killed remain an eternal and holy remembrance for all Poles.