PAPAL RUMPUS IN POLAND
LIDIA DUDKIEWICZ, THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF ‘NIEDZIELA’
The first initiator of the rumpus in Poland in July 2016 was St. John Paul II. After all, the youth is his discovery. The Polish Pope noticed and showed the beauty of young people, to the whole world, as well as their spiritual strength needed to set off to conquer the world for God. Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz said recently that the idea of the World Youth Days had been taking a long time to get mature in the mind and heart of St. John Paul II, and had reached back to the times when in the first years of his priesthood he had had contacts with young people and met them personally. He noted that it is necessary to use the youth’s language and listen to them, what they have got to say to the Church. He was aware of how important it is for them to experience faith together, in a community. The arrival of the Holy Father Francis at Cracow, the city of the Polish Pope, is a form of worshipping the one in whose heart the idea of the World Youth Days was born.
Cracow is also an excellent purpose of pilgrimages in the Holy Year of Mercy, as here there is the light of Divine Mercy, of whose sparkle John Paul II had sent to the whole world. Also the Filipinos arrived at Cracow, for whom the time of 3 p.m. is a really holy time. Every day life stops in their country then, work in offices, banks, factories is stopped and people pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
We experienced the time of great grace in the week before the World Youth Days with pope Francis. In Polish dioceses youthfulness broke out, we were witnesses and participants of the faith explosion. Young people from all over the world even had an occasion to get to know for the first time in their life, what it means to make a pilgrimage on foot. They really arrived at Jasna Góra on foot, and not from the nearby car park, but walking a few or even a few dozen kilometers. Our national sanctuary for many foreign groups was a stop before the meeting in Cracow. They were sent there by the host of the place, archbishop Wacław Depo with the words: ‘Do not be afraid of the world and its future. Christ’s love is stronger than evil or death’. The young showed how to spread the Gospel in every place of the world, where people can be together. And Jasna Góra was smiling through their presence. How much they were praying, dancing, singing here, reviving the old walls of the monastery with youthful energy, where pope Francis was going to be in order to preside over the national thanksgiving for Poland Baptism, received 1050 years ago. This is an exceptional meeting of the old future with young contemporary times.
The national meeting at Jasna Góra in 2016 is taking place in completely different circumstances than during the Millennium in 1966. At that time pope Paul VI really wanted to arrive to our country but the communist authorities did not allow him to. His desire for the meeting on the occasion of the Millennium was so great and particular that even a menu for Paul VI during his stay in Poland was decided. Whereas the Vatican post office edited special stamps on that occasion – one of them presented the Holy Father, and a Polish inscription above him: ‘Praised be Jesus Christ!’. These words of greeting were said by pope Paul VI in the beginning of his meetings with Poles in Vatican. Now Francis somehow will satisfy the nostalgia of Paul VI for Poland. Pope Paul VI was not present on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of Poland Baptism, but pope Francis will be present on the occasion of the 1050th anniversary of this event.