Awaken the faith that moves mountains
Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś talks to Archbishop Stanisław Budzik, a new Metropolitan of Lublin
Fr. Ireneusz Skubiś: - Your Excellency took over Lublin archdiocese when Archbishop Józef Życiński died in February 2011, who was very dynamic on the pastoral and intellectual grounds. He was not a Church shepherd indifferent towards you, Archbishop. Is the takeover of tasks after such a predecessor a special circumstance?
Archbishop Stanisław Budzik: - ‘An outstanding Church shepherd went to Lord at the young age’ – the Holy Father Benedict XVI wrote so about the late archbishop Józef Życiński in a telegram of condolence. People, who we love, always die at the young age, always too early. Archbishop Życiński was loved and respected by the faithful from Częstochowa diocese where he came from, Tarnów diocese where he had fulfilled his pastoral ministry for seven years and Lublin archdiocese which he had led for nearly fourteen years. He was known in the country and abroad. Therefore his sudden death filled so many hearts with pain and sorrow.
I have cooperated with him in Tarnów. He was in a cordial friendship with me later as well. I had never thought that I would be his successor. Awareness of his presence in the mystery of the communion of saints makes the process of inner acceptance of the difficult challenge become easier.
- What priorities of your ministry could you point as a new Metropolitan of Lublin diocese? What will be the most important?
- When one reads the Directory for the Ministry of Bishops ‘Apostolorum successores’, there is an impression that everything in the ministry of diocese Bishop is important, like: children, the youth, adults, elders, families, Works of Mercifulness, the society, culture, canon law, economics, seminary, priestly community, consecrated life, academic ministry, universities, colleges of bishops, metropolis, Conference of Episcopate, relations with the Holy See...
What is the most important in it? I think that the most important is – I will use the title of John Paul’s II Exhortation about bishops – it is ‘a servant to Gospel of Jesus Christ for hope in the world’. Give people hope which cannot disappoint, but awakens the faith which moves mountains, and kindles love which endures everything.
- How can implementing of new tasks be supported by the existing functions – the Auxiliary Bishop of Tarnów and the secretary of the Polish Episcopate?
- After four years of my work in Warsaw I will refer to the pastoral ministry, sacrament of Confirmation, visits, meetings with the faithful and priests; to the pastoral ministry of sanctifying and the Church shepherding. I will preach the word of God more often.
I will surely find it more difficult because now my pastoral ministry will connect with the ultimate responsibility for many matters. But I will not be left alone; I count on good advice and help from bishops, priests, people of consecrated life and the faithful laity involved in the matters of the Church. Rich experiences will surely be useful to me which I gained during my work in the Secretariat of the Episcopate in Warsaw.
- The function of the Secretary in the Secretariat of the Episcopate allows your Excellency to have a broad look at the Church in Poland and all over the world. And how will it be useful for Lublin?
- It is always good to look at local matters from a broader perspective. Work in the Secretariat of the Episcopate was connected with many contacts in the scale of Poland and also abroad. In many conversations and meetings I could learn and observe a lot, how different local churches function. Travelling broadens our mind. I think that these experiences can be used in the archdiocese. But first I must learn about the Church which has been rooted in Lublin and the archdiocese for thousands of years and has its beautiful tradition.
- How do Archbishop, perceive the Church in Lublin – as the archdiocese and a special environment connected with the existing and deserved CUL?
- I have known Lublin as a city for a long time. I took my final exam here as a deacon, and being a student of the Theological in the Theologian Institute in Tarnow – I defended my Master’s thesis, three weeks after my priestly ordination. After Tarnow, Limanowa and Warsaw where I lived and worked, after Cracow where I commuted to lectures for seven years, Lublin was probably the most visited city by me in Poland. I also knew many priests from the archdiocese and I have been friends with some of them since the studies in Innsbruck, but now I must learn about the archdiocese from inside. It will take some time for that.
Not only Poland but also many people in the world associate Lublin with the Catholic University in Lublin. For years it has been the only Catholic university between Laba and Władywostok acknowledged by the state. It is impossible to overestimate the role, which the university played during the communism. Today it is not alone; it has competitive universities but still remains an important reference point on the spiritual map of Poland and Europe. The motto of the university is: ‘Duty to God and Homeland’ and the name of Blessed John Paul II in the name of the university is a great commitment to which successive generations of lecturers and students need to grow up.
- On 22 October is ingress and then the pastoral ministry of Archbishop begins in the archdiocese of Lublin among clergy, seminarians and laity. What will it look like?
- This question of Mitred Prelate Monsignor will be answered by me for years of my ministry in the archdiocese of Lublin. I would like to encourage and mobilize everyone to answer the appeal of Blessed John Paul II addressed to the Church in the beginning of the New Millenium, to make the Church the home and school of communion. All of us must realize that the Church is our home that we as children of one Father create a spiritual family. If we build the Holy Communion ourselves, that is, the community of love, dialogue and forgiveness, it will be the best form of evangelism and many people will want to join us. It is a task for priests and those who are preparing for priesthood. It is a task for people of the consecrated life and laity: families, parish communities, associations and apostolic groups.
- Let God bless Archbishop on a new path of the pastoral ministry to the Church in Poland and all over the world.