PEOPLE OF KAROL WOJTYŁA
LIDIA DUDKIEWICZ, THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF ‘NIEDZIELA’
Recently a relay of people important in the life of St. John Paul II has passed through our grateful memory. It seemed as if, through the events which nearly coincided in time, we got a chance to look at people’s faces, at whose eyes Karol Wojtyła looked as a student, a priest and later a bishop, a cardinal and a pope. And – on 20 January this year pope Francis gave a permission for publication of a decree concerning virtues of God’s servant Jan Tyranowski, a clerk and a tailor who was a lay spiritual tutor of young Karol Wojtyła. He was leading souls to Heaven in a beautiful way. In his book ‘A gift and mystery’ John Paul II wrote about Tyranowski: ‘I learnt from him, among the others, elementary methods of work on myself, which had been ahead than what I found in the seminary later. Tyranowski, who formed his personality basing on works of St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Jesus, took me to those unusual books as for my age at that time’.
An important man in the life of the Polish Pope was Fr. Mieczysław Maliński. He has just passed away into eternity. He helped people on his priestly road to understand faith from a cradle to death, which he treated as a return home. He spoke that there was no reason to be scared because through our earthly life we are going to Heaven, not to death. Every corner of Cracow is filled with thoughts of Fr. Mieczysław Maliński. Shortly speaking, he explained us righteously what was not so easy for us. Once I was astonished by his sermon consisting of only one word. In his autobiography ‘A gift and mystery’ John Paul II mentions him when he reminisces his first Holy Mass in the crypt of St. Leonard at the Wawel Castle. It reads: ‘Only few people participated in those first Holy Masses at Wawel. I remember that my godmother was present, an older sister of my Mother, Maria Wiadrowska. I also remember that I was assisted by Mieczysław Maliński at the Holy Mass. He was a sign of connection with people of Jan Tyranowski.
Another man among warm-hearted people of Karol Wojtyła was Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz. From his initiative the Centre ‘Do not be afraid’ and a sanctuary of St. John Paul II were built in Cracow on the White Seas. It was where cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz ended his ministry as the metropolitan of Cracow on 21 January this year. His idea of building a house for John Paul II on the White Seas, as he had been living at others’ homes because he did not have a house, was also saving the youthful sign of Karol Wojtyła. During the Second World War he was a worker in a quarry on Zakrzówek in Cracow, from where the white limestone was transported to the soda factories Solvay, leaving white waste dumps, that is, the White Seas.
Today in the sanctuary on the White Seas there are relics of the papal blood and there is cassock of John Paul II stained by his blood, which he was wearing on the assassination day on 13 May 1981. Fr. Prof. Edward Staniek, during a thanksgiving Holy Mass for the ministry of cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, noted that he had been the right hand of John Paul II, both when documents were being written, and when ‘he was putting sandwiches, a thermos flask with tea, socks to change into a bag, when they were going skiing or for a walk’. God gave cardinal Dziwisz important tasks during the pontificate of John Paul II, which he is still undertaking, mainly as a custodian of memory about the saint Pope. Now the most urgent tasks are preparation of notes for publication, which the secretary of John Paul II had taken every day of the Polish pontificate. Even 27 written notebooks are another joyful surprise for us and a gift from cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, whom God chose to serve to the Great Pole for 39 years.