BE EARLIER THAN GOD

ARTUR STELMASIAK

It was an unusual day in the Sanctuary of Jasna Góra. Heroes who were to be removed from the Polish history, were granted a place of remembrance in the spiritual capital of Poland. I fought with the German enemy, I fought with the Soviet enemy and life imprisonment. Our fates were on the border of death and life. We are thankful that we can be pilgrims in the exceptional place – said a 95-year-old cavalry soldier of the Order Virtuti Military, a colonel Tadeusz Bieńkowski, nicknamed Rączy. – We are passing away and every monument and remembrance tablet will remain after us. Today I feel that Our Lady was standing up for us – he confessed.

At the beginning of the Holy Mass, which was presided over in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady by the metropolitan of Gdańsk archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź, the prior of Jasna Góra Father Jan Poteralski expressed his gratitude to the initiators of the pilgrimage in greeting words. He said among the others: - We thank the Management of Polish Oil Mining and Gas Industry, Institute of National Remembrance, Lidii Dudkiewicz and the whole Editorial Team of the Catholic Weekly ‘Sunday’ for organizing the ceremonies. This is great joy that for the first time so many Steadfast Soldiers have arrived at Jasna Góra. The words: ‘God, Honour, Homeland’ and ‘Glory to heroes’ are always heard at Jasna Góra.

In his homily archbishop Głódź reminded about the history of the anti-communist spurt. He said that the Steadfast Soldiers had protected the soul of Poland which was to be deprived of faith and tradition. – The soldiers of the anti-communist underground state were those who suffered not only from the darkness of hearings, tortures, prison isolations, but mainly the darkness of blurring signs also after their death – emphasized archbishop Głódź and added: - You are another link of Polish independence spurts, undertaken in order to save faith and freedom. We thank you, dear brothers, that at the time of the trial you did not lose your faith but undertook a fight with the hawk of communism.

During the Eucharist the combatants were sitting in honourable seats in the presbytery, just in front of the image of the Queen of Poland. A lot of elderly heroes were not hiding their tears or emotions. – I remember I was praying while I was marching with my division. I am sure that this is Blessed Mother to whom I owe my saved life, it was Her who saved me from lots of oppressions – a colonel Marian Pawełczak, nicknamed Morwa, told ‘Niedziela’ (‘Sunday’), and who had fought in the division of Mayor Hieronim Dekutowski nicknamed Zapora. At the end of the Holy Mass archbishop Głódź announced that the Chapter of ‘Inka’s Ring’ belonging to Danuta Siedzikówna – ‘Faithful to Poland, faithful till the end’ granted a Ring to the general Pauline of the Paulines’ Order Fr. Arnold Chrapkowski in acknowledgment for his patriotic attitude and cultivating the idea of remembrance about Steadfast Soldiers’.

After the Eucharist in the Chapel of the Nation Remembrance, the chairperson of the Polish Oil Mining and Gas Industry Piotr Woźniak unveiled and archbishop Głódź sanctified a tablet commemorating Steadfast Soldiers. – We are giving you an honour, as you have arrived on the 100th anniversary of regaining independence, in a pilgrimage to Mother, the Queen of Poland. Thanks to you we are witnesses of devoting rosary beads of the glorious history of Poland – said Antoni Trzmiel, a journalist of TVP channel, who was hosting the ceremony. A letter from president of Poland Andrzej Duda was read out by prof. Andrzej Waśko. The word on that occasion was also expressed by the chairperson of the Law and Justice party Jarosław Kaczyński. The ceremony was attended by, among the others, an MP Lidia Burzyńska and the Silesian province governor Jarosław Wieczorek.

On the tablet commemorating the heroes of the anticommunist underground state there are words: ‘To steadfast soldiers who stood to fight for free Poland against communist captivity, being killed in fights, during investigations, being murdered as a result of court crimes, long-term prisoners and the repressed’. The pilgrimage and unveiling the tablet are connected with a patriotic program of the Foundation of Polish Oil Mining and Gas Industry ‘We are encouraging Polish Hearts’. – It seemed that we could wait with the ceremonies till the next year, but we were afraid that some of our aged Steadfast Soldiers would not be able to live till that day – said the chairperson of Polish Oil Mining and Gas Industry to ‘Niedziela’. – We must hurry with honouring our heroes in order to be earlier than God – he added.

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

Niedziela 11/2018 (18 III 2018)

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Lidia Dudkiewicz • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl