A NEW BEGINNING
FR. MAREK ŁUCZAK
How did a meeting with Christ change inhabitants of today’s Greater Poland In the beginning of the Middle Ages? How did they change the world in which they lived? Heroes of that event became not only members of the Church community, but they also entered the salons of today’s Europe
The need to reflect on these issues made people organize the 10th Meeting in Gniezno on 11-13 March 2016 under the motto ‘Europe of new beginnings. Liberating power of Christianity’. The issue refers to the 1050th anniversary of baptism of Mieszko I, which was a breakthrough event not only for the prince and his court, but also for history of Poland and its role in the family of European nations. Thanks to their initiative, organizers want to remind about the situation of Europe and the Church from 1050 years ago.
Faith as a school of freedom
The choice of this issue refers also to a clear need of deep renewal which one can feel in the modern life of Church, Poland and Europe. - We believe that its beginning can be an examination of conscience of Polish Christianity and return to sources of baptism – say organizers.
- We want to start any kind of renewal with ourselves. We see how many people are confused in their searches, their nostalgias and hopes. We want to discover faith anew as a school of freedom. Each of us needs a new beginning.
Pope Francis calls the whole Church for pastoral conversion, going from a model of pastoral ministry focused on preserving what exists, to a model of missionary Church, going out onto existential peripheries of the modern world. Church needs a new beginning.
In the opinion of organizers, Poland has seemed more and more tired after over 20 years of freedom. As they claim, the modernizing potential has been depleted. In their opinion, what is essential is the new eagerness for public citizens’ engagement. Poland needs new beginning.
Also modern Europe is tired and helpless. There is no vision making it possible to solve serious problems both in EU countries and outside them. There appears fear against newcomers. Europe needs a new beginning – conclude organizers.
In the year 2016 there is the 25th anniversary of the final failure of the Soviet Union and beginnings of creating new order in Central-Eastern Europe. Majdan in Kiev confirmed in 2014 that the process of gaining freedom is still taking place. Such changes during the meeting will be concluded by organizers. They ask: - Brotherly nations of our part of the continent have been liberated for a quarter a century, but are they free now?
Need of liberation
The Meeting in Gniezno will be attended by lecturers, panelists and workshop experts who are also witnesses of the mentioned changes. There are going to be people who have already proved with their activity that they can be a source of creative inspiration for others, and can motivate others to come out from indifference, and demand from themselves the most. It concerns not only listening to them but also learning from them how to experience faith in freedom, how to be a Christian in the pluralistic society. Participants of the meeting want to experience liberating power of the Gospel and be its witnesses.
Also believers of various Christian churches were invited for the 10th Meeting in Gniezno, as well as members of religious movements and communities, associations, foundations or other non-governmental organizations, whose purpose is working for the sake of the common welfare. Moreover, the Meeting is to be their occasion to meet and get to know one another and build relations with one another. Organizers want to provide, especially Christian leaders with energy, inspiration, knowledge and skills for further actions thanks to active being with wisdom and beauty. They want the debates of the meeting to touch on real human problems: from the existential ones through inter-human, social, ecclesiastical and cultural ones – to the international ones. ‘Europe of new beginnings’ will engage its participants in various dimensions: the spiritual one – through testimonies and ecumenical prayers included in the schedule of the meeting; the intellectual one – through lectures and panel discussions; the cultural one – through artistic events.
- We made space in the schedule for meetings of the participants and a possibility of exchanging experiences. Thanks to special Workshops of Christian Freedom, the meeting will be a kind of a formation session, a practical lesson how to encourage oneself and others for new beginnings – say the hosts of the meeting.
The Meeting in Gniezno will also serve as a place of making international contacts among groups engaged for the sake of building Christian fundaments of the citizen society. For these reasons, the invitation was accepted by citizens of Ukraine which is building such beginnings with difficulty. Also the Russians were invited who are aiming at reconciliation with their neighbours, and also the Belarusians, Lithuanians and representatives of all nations constituting a shape of their freedom anew. According to tradition of former Meetings in Gniezno, all is about building Europe of spirit together, as well as a dialogue, for the man and family, really civilian one.