To the Polish Community in the whole world
From the letter of Bishop Zygmunt Zimowski, the delegate of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for Polish migrants abroad.
In his letter directed to the Polish migrants abroad Bishop Zygmunt Zimowski encourages to faithfulness to the Cross of Christ. The letter of the Delegate of the Bishops’ Conference for Polish migrants abroad, directed to the Polish Diaspora will be read in the Polish churches abroad on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on 14 September 2008. The Letter is a reminder of the necessity to defend the Cross of Christ in everyday life.
In his letter to the Polish migrants Bishop Zygmunt Zimowski indicates that ‘in the contemporary world many people think that the Cross of Christ is something contradictory to true love and thus is a serious obstacle on the way of civilisational progress. Furthermore, some believers even doubt in the value of Christ’s Cross.’ However, he shows that ‘the Church does not stop proclaiming what God’s Revelation writes about Jesus’ death on the cross, «And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself » (John 12: 32).’
Bishop Zimowski mentions three historical anniversaries that can and should be a special inspiration and obligation for people who are far from their homeland: the 2000th anniversary of the birth of St Paul, the 30th anniversary of the election of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla to papacy and the 90th anniversary of regaining independence. Since 28 June 2008 the Church has been celebrating the jubilee Year of St Paul. ‘How strong must St Paul have been connected with the mystery of the Saviour’s passion and death on the cross when he confessed that while visiting some Christian communities he never wanted to exude word and wisdom. He rather ‘resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified’ as he wrote in the Letter to Corinthians (1 Cor 2:2)’, writes Bishop Zimowski stressing that the life and letters of the Apostle to the Nations are a perfect basis to make an examination of conscience for each of us. Bishop Zimowski confesses that during the Pauline year he would like to visit the places connected with Paul’s evangelisation activities and to meet his countrymen living there. ‘The second great anniversary that should be a source of important questions of moral character is the 30th anniversary of the election of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla to papacy’, writes the delegate of the Bishops’ Conference for Polish migrants abroad. On 16 October there will be numerous celebrations of this event in Poland and abroad. Bishop Zimowski will participate in thanksgiving for the gift of the pontificate of John Paul II in New Jersey, Chicago and Washington where the John Paul II Centre has existed for 25 years. Bishop Zimowski points to the example of the Holy Father who ‘uncompromisingly defended the Cross as the shepherd of the Krakow Church during the times of totalitarianism. He confidently accepted that Cross on the day of his election to papacy. He remained faithful to this Cross that was also given to him during his last Way of the Cross celebrated in the Roman Coliseum.’ The anniversary of the Pole’s election to papacy should incline us to get to know the teaching of John Paul II’, says Bishop Zimowski. He also reminds us of the collection benefiting talented young people coming from poor families, which the Foundation ‘Work of the New Millennium’ will take on that day all over Poland and among Polish immigrants. ‘This initiative is a living monument to John Paul II’, we read in the letter to the Polish community. Referring to the 90th anniversary of Poland’s regaining independence to be celebrated on 11 November, Bishop Zimowski writes that ‘one should not forget the great and unique role of those who were immigrants in those times. They carried their Homeland in their hearts all the time. Thus they gave a witness of faith in the victory of the Cross of Christ. Therefore, the heroism of those generations became an inspiration for those who fought for free and independent Poland during World War II and after its end.’ Bishop Zimowski expresses joy that on the first Sunday of October he will be participating in Pulaski Day Parade in New York, ‘thanking God for the numerous Polish Heroes who fought for our freedom as well as for freedom of other nations.’ He also reminds us of the meritorious spiritual shepherds of the Polish communities abroad: Cardinal August Hlond and Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski as well as Cardinal Jozef Glemp who is fulfilling this function these days. ‘During the patriotic November celebrations let us think especially about the form of our personal and family ties that are so often endangered today – not by the external partitioners but by the new forms of moral slavery that the contemporary world brings. Let us also pray for eternal peace of those who gave their lives for Poland’s freedom’, Bishop Zimowski encourages us.
Bishop Zygmunt Zimowski of Radom replaced Bishop Ryszard Karpinski of Lublin whose term as the delegate for Polish migrants abroad ended in May 2008. The delegate of the Bishops’ Conference presides the works of the Commission for the Polish Community and Poles Abroad.