Oak of John Paul II
Monument to 'Niedziela' on its 80th anniversary
A papal oak was planted in the yard of our editorial office, 3 Maja Street, on 8 May 2006. The ceremony gathered Bishop Edward Janiak of Warsaw, national chaplain for foresters, Jan Watroba, Auxiliary Bishop of Czestochowa, Rev. Msgr. Ireneusz Skubis, editor-in-chief, as well as representatives of the local authorities, workers, clergymen and friends of 'Niedziela'. The oak was one of 500 samplings, which grew out of the acorns that the Holy Father John Paul II had blessed during his audience with Polish foresters in 2004. The planted oak, symbolically called 'Totus Tuus', will be a living monument to the Pontificate of the greatest Pole, apart from being a symbol of life, power and endurance of Poland's nature. At the same time the place where the oak was planted is connected with the 80th anniversary of the Catholic Weekly 'Niedziela' and the 25th anniversary of Fr Ireneusz Skubis as its editor-in-chief after 'Niedziela had been reactivated in 1981.
The honorary guests included Fr Mikolaj Skawinski, chaplain for Silesian foresters, Dr Kazimierz Szabla, engineer and director of the RDLP in Katowice, Artur Warzocha, Deputy Provincial Governor, Senator Czeslaw Ryszka, and Jerzy Milkowski, district forester of Klobuck. The ceremony was enriched by the performance of the band called 'Lesny Rog' [Forest Horn], playing the hunting horns, from the Forest District of Proszkow near Opole. The leader of the group was Lech Olczyk, district forester.
Rev. Msgr. Skubis welcomed those gathered and said that the ceremony would contribute to support the values that the Holy Father John Paul II lived and proclaimed. The stability of the oak would symbolise everything that 'Niedziela' tried to serve. Handing in the certificate of the authenticity of the sampling Dr Kazimierz Szabla said, 'The oak called 'Chrobry' [commemorating King Boleslaw the Bold] is the oldest oak in Poland and the acorns were taken out of this oak. The tree, planted in the editorial yard, in the vicinity of Jasna Gora, will enter our history and create a monument that will be harder than rock. I wish the Weekly 'Niedziela' to survive at least as many years as the parent of the oak, to remind us of wonderful Poland's nature and to bring glory to the works of the Creator'. A special commemorative tablet was placed next to the oak, in the editorial square. The documentation of the event and the latest issue of 'Niedziela' were placed in a special box. The participants of the celebration believe deeply that the planted tree will inherit Chrobry's longevity and it will endure to the fourth millennium, holding the memory of the great Polish Pope and bear witness to John Paul II's concern about preservation of Poland's nature for next generations; and like the oak 'Niedziela' will be a symbol of endurance and concern for all that Poland is.
Our colleague and poet Krzysztof Seweryn wrote the following words to commemorate this wonderful celebration:
We stood in front of you
in the Book of Genesis as an oak, a long-lived tree,
we from the sixth day of creation,
with a view to eternity.
On your young branches, grown out of the fruit blessed by the Holy Father John Paul II,
we have hung our thoughts
looking ahead to the future.
Grow, royal tree,
carry the memory of us, contemporary men,
for the future generations
and the memory of the One
whose calling gave you the name