On the 90th birthday of Cardinal Nagy
The propagator of the great pontificate of John Paul II
The witness of John Paul’s II life, a famous fundamentalist theologian, an itinerant professor who has left his mark in many research centres – Cardinal Stanisław Nagy SCJ – celebrated his 90th birthday on 30 September 2011.
Lights on the jubilee birthday cake of Cardinal Stanisław Nagy were lit on the 30th September this year in the headquarters of the publishing house White Raven in Cracow where he welcomed his guests among whom were cardinals from Cracow, priests, co-brothers of a Religious Family with the Vice-Provincial Father Dariusz Salamon and Prior Father Krzysztof Zimończyk. There were other guests at the birthday party: authority representatives of Bierun, ‘Solidarity’ in the Little Poland and also Anna Nagy, representing the family of Cardinal Nagy and his many friends.
Cardinal to Cardinal
During the meeting cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz recalled the years spent with the Jubilarian at the side of John Paul II. He emphasized that their great love to the Church and homeland bound cardinal Nagy together with the Polish Pope, as well as their wisdom which they shared with each other. It is this love – according to the Metropolitan of Cracow –which led the Cardinal Nagy to the cardinal’s dignity because John Paul II wanted to valorize Polish scholars theologians in his person. During the birthday meeting in the headquarters of the publishing house White Raven Cardinal Dziwisz mentioned that John Paul II had said to him many times: ‘Call Nagy and he will tell us something new’. – He always has something to say, let him tell us what needs to be said to the Church and our homeland – emphasized Cardinal Dziwisz noting that John Paul II died but Cardinal Nagy is still alive and is continuing what connected them together; that is, he gives a testimony of the faithfulness to the teaching of the Church, love to the Pope and also the homeland, showing his great patriotism and enriching people and various environments with his love, cordiality and wisdom. – Let it last – wished Cardinal Dziwisz with all his heart.
A connector between Vatican and Poland
Beautiful laudation was given by: prof. Andrzej Nowak, prof. Krzysztof Ożóg, Adam Bujak.
Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś and Father Zdzisław Klafka CSsR addressed the Jubilarian with cordial words as well.
Prof. Andrzej Nowak, a historian famous worldwide and among American and English universities an even in Tokyo, presented a few years of Cardinal Nagy’s life. He pointed to his connections with the Silesia where he was born in 1921. He described colourfully how the Krakowska Street, the main street in the hometown Bierut, had led young Stanisław Nagy towards Cracow. At the same time he analyzed the path in the same direction of young Karol Wojtyła, who reached the royal city from Southern Poland a few years later. And so they lived, gaining education and realizing themselves in priesthood close to each other all the time. But the meeting which influenced their life took place only in 1958 when Fr. Wojtyła became bishop and Fr. Nagy was supposed to be his continuator in his pastoral work among medical environments in Cracow. And then it was the first time he had gone to listen to Fr. Wojtyła’s sermon. And later, the bonds of their friendship had a chance to develop because they travelled by night train from Cracow to Lublin for years, as professors of the Catholic University of Lublin (CUL). Certainly, as the whole world knows, there were also their common skiing trips in winter as well as tea from one thermos flask and sandwiches from one rucksack.
And when there was 1978 and Cardinal Wojtyła became Pope, Fr. Prof. Nagy belonged to his most important connector between Vatican and Cracow and the whole homeland. John Paul II asked Fr. Prof. Nagy for some news from Poland, some advice and consultation concerning the latest tendencies in the area of development of theology all over the world. For, he was a member of the International Commision of Theologians whose chairman was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. It turns out that it was Fr. Prof. Nagy who had already predicted in 1982 that the most worthy successor after– if God lets – the long pontificate of John Paul II might be only Cardinal Ratzinger.
Within the rays of John Paul’s II Holiness
Prof. Krzysztof Ożóg concentrated on the words inscribed in the bishop’s coat of arms of the Jubilarian: ‘ I trust you, Heart of Jesus completely’. He said that priesthood of the Fr. Cardinal is burning with the heat of love and wisdom and his whole life has been a reference to Christ who is a fundament and source of hope especially in difficult times when the world needs witnesses.
Cardinal Franciszek Macharski noted the great mission of Cardinal Nagy as an itinerant theologian who contributed to the development of many research centres in Poland.
The photographer, Adam Bujak, expressed his gratitude to God for 90 years of the Jubilarian’s life and thanked for his faithful persistence under the cross of Christ which must be defended in our times so that it could remain in the public space. It is just Cardinal Nagy, among the others, the author of an essay to a photography by Adam Bujak placed in an album of White Raven ‘Europe rich with the cross. From Golgota to Strasburg’ and a text in the album ‘Polish Cross. Shrine of the Lord’. It is a strong voice in the defence of today attacked symbol of Christian faith, showing the great importance of the cross in the life of inhabitants on the Old Continent and making the Europeans aware of the fact that cutting oneself off from the cross is inconsistent with the European culture rooted in Christianity. Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś, the chief editor of ‘Niedziela’, being in friendship with the Jubilarian for years, paid a tribute to him as an important witness of Blessed John Paul’s II life and who is also a propagator of the great pontificate now, a bridge between Rome of the times of the Polish Pope and what we are experiencing in our homeland at present. On the eve of the Second Congress of Divine Mercy which is held in Cracow now, referring to the Pope’s teaching and the charism of the cardinal and brother of the Order of the Sacred Heart, Fr. Skubiś pointed to God’s Face and God’s Heart through which we can get to know Christ in the best way. And discovering God in His deepest essence is the first task for a fundamentalist theologian, that is, of Cardinal Nagy who lives in God and within the rays of John Paul’s II holiness whose thinking is still sown by the cardinal as a faithful propagator of the Pope’s teaching in the hearts and minds of Poles. As Father dr. Zdzisław Klafka, the former provincial of Warsaw Province of Redemptorists, noted whenever Cardinal Stanislaw Nagy came to Vatican, the Holy Father was always very happy. This witness of mercy and truth, the man of great wisdom and great heart supported John Paul II with friendliness in his difficult pontificate. Now he radiates this fatherhood in which he was during the Polish pontificate.
Leszek Sosnowski – the chairman of the publishers White Raven who arranged the 90th birthday party for the Cardinal, noted the great affection of Cardinal Nagy to the cross and homeland. This is a patriot, a great and yet extremely modest man – he said.
Meeting between the present and the past
On the birthday of Cardinal Nagy also an unusual woman came representing the space of meeting the consciousness with politics. It was a doctor – paediatrics Zuzanna Kurtyka who lost her husband in the Smolensk catastrophe, the late Janusz Kurtyka, the president of the Institute of National Memory, and now she decided to enter the path of public service and continue the patriotic work of her husband. There was also a General’s wife Krystyna Kwiatkowska – a widow of General Bronisław Kwiatkowski. The Jubilarian also enjoyed the presence of professor Gabriel Turowski – an important witness of Blessed John Paul’s II life. And many young people present at the birthday party of 90-year-old cardinal, among the others, students who came with their head-teacher from gymnasium number 1, could experience the meeting between the present and the past and notice how the fate of homeland connects with the history of the Church. The meeting in the headquarters of the White Raven was enriched with songs performed by a famous soprano singer Ewa Warta-Śmietana and the whole meeting was conducted by professor Janusz Kawecki who, in rich concluding words, explained everybody that God gives remarkable people who are reference points for successive generations. This important man in our times is Cardinal Stanisław Nagy SCJ – the prince of the Church, a sage and great patriot.