WHOLE POLAND HAS WEPT
‘There are going to be the times when the corruption of morals will be supported. The holy religion will be made a bogey in order to discourage all noble hearts from it’ – warned prophetically Zygmunt Krasiński 180 years ago
Having found out about the profanation committed on the second Sunday of Advent in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady, the prior of Jasna Góra said: - Whole Poland has wept, also in the literal sense. Many people directed their frightened hearts towards Jasna Góra. We thank for this care of our nation about the monastery, about the sanctuary, about Jasna Góra. We thank for prayers for the words of support and we thank to all servants for their professional and good action of quick help to defend Jasna Góra from those who do not know what they are doing. Many of us understand this attack against the Miraculous Image as an attack against the very essence of Polishness.
The course of events
Let’s recall the facts which shocked all of us on Sunday 9 December 2012. Well, this day at 7.45, just after the Holy Mass of the Jasna Góra convent, the attempt of destroying the Miraculous Image of Our Lady took place. A man threw baubles in the shape of light bulbs, filled with black substance at the Image, and this substance slashed all over the altar, reaching even the rose gifted to Our Lady by the Holy Father John Paul II. The perpetrator was immediately caught by brother Paweł Bryzek, a Pauline, and the guardians of order gave him to the police. After the incident the Chapel was closed. Archbishop senior Stanisław Nowak and bishop Jan Wątroba arrived at the place in order to check the state of the icon and undertake an expiatory prayer. The Image was not damaged because it is protected by a bullet-proof glass. At 11.45 the Chapel of Our Lady was opened and made accessible to pilgrims. Under the leadership of Fr. Sebastian Matecki, the sub-prior of Jasna Góra, a sin-offering devotion was begun, with the participation of the present general of the Pauline Order, Fr. Izydor Matuszewski.
The perpetrator of the profanation of the Miraculous Image appeared to be a 58-year-old resident of Świdnica. After the hearing of him, an application was submitted to the District Court in Częstochowa for arresting the convict for three months. Procurators accused him of destroying the good of special significance for culture and the insult of religious feelings. Jerzy D. pleaded guilty for the crimes committed by him, submitted full explanations and did not express any repentance. He faces the imprisonment till 10 years. A procurator ordered to prepare a psychiatric opinion.
Wake up, Poland!
At noon Fr. Józef Płatek presided the expiatory Holy Mass. In the homily he noted that at present in Poland the three holiest signs of Christianity are being attacked: Cross, Bible and Icon – these three symbols of faith were solemnly being carried by young people from the whole world to the Hill of Jasna Góra and adored during the VI Youth’s World’s Day in 1991, during a prayer presided by John Paul II. – We see how in our Homeland the profanation of these signs holy for the Christians is taking place – he said. He quoted the words of Henryk Sienkiewicz concerning the Swedish invasion; ‘Strangely satan is fierce in this place. And he is making any endeavours in order to disturb the devotion and let as few believers as possible to participate in it. Because nothing is leading so desperately to the hellish court like the sight of the adoration of Maryja who clashed the head of the snake’.
Fr. Płatek also quoted the words of the poet Zygmunt Krasiński, who warned in the prophetic vision 180 years ago: ‘The times will come when the corruption of morals will be supported. The holy religion will be made a bogey in order to discourage all noble hearts from it. Meanness will be rewarded with orders and honours. People will be stupefied with vodka or other elements, elites with posts and the head of those who will resist, the packs and prices will be issued to deal with them in due time’.
– We all need much common sense, sensibility and solemnity. Maybe God gave us this sign, to guardians and all adorers of God’s Mother at Jasna Góra, that it’s time to wake up in Advent. Not long time ago there was a call: Poland, wake up! It is another sign for us not to go astray, or not to waste our life – said Fr. Płatek.
The expiatory prayer for the profanation of the Image lasted for the whole day at Jasna Góra. At the end of every Holy Mass the imploring song ‘Holy God, Holy and Almighty’ was sung.
Also the Appeal of Jasna Góra had the expiatory character in the Chapel of Our Lady on 9 December, which was presided by the prior of Jasna Góra Fr. Roman Majewski. The residents of Częstochowa and pilgrims, representatives of male and female Orders, as well as priests with archbishop Wacław Depo arrived at this evening prayer of Poles. (the text of the appeal reflection, being a form of supplication for the profanation, has been wholly printed on the pages 9 and 10 of the current edition ‘Sunday’).
The expiation of Częstochowa
Having heard the message about the profanation of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady, the metropolitan of Częstochowa archbishop Wacław Depo addressed his request to all diocesans to arrive at Jasna Góra with their priests to say the expiatory prayer. He invited the whole church of Częstochowa to participate in the night vigil prayer on the 11th and 12th December for ‘all profanations and sacrileges which have been taking place in the recent days and months in the arch-diocese. They result from the anti-church and anti-Christian attack of some political groups and media, lasting for a long time’ – he stated.
The metropolitan of Częstochowa informed that he prayed also for those who commit any attack of vandalism. He noted that on the one hand they are their perpetrators, but on the other hand – the victims of the carefully conducted manipulation of anti-religion, and sometimes lost people whom one should help. ‘I ask God for grace of awakening of the consciences of all Poles, and, especially politicians governing our town and Homeland’ – he said.
According to the announcement of archbishop Depo, on 11th and 12th of December, at Jasna Góra there was a vigil prayer of the archdiocese of Częstochowa, compensating to God for the attempt of destroying the Miraculous Image of Our Lady at Jasna Góra. In the reflection of the appeal prayer the Metropolitan of Częstochowa said: - Today we are coming to You, in order to say beside the words: I AM, I REMEMBER…… a strong word I AM WATCHFUL in the vow of the appeal prayer. This word is pronounced with power in order to awaken dormant consciences. We pronounce this word with power in order to wake up dormant consciences. We pronounce it over those who are endangered by the loss of spiritual sense of hearing and spiritual sight, and also the inheritance of God’s children. Please, guard all of us so that we would not lose the roads to Your Son, the only Mediator between God and people.
Archbishop Depo noted that this another act of hurting the image of Mother and Son, to the similarity of the profanation of the Image by Hussites in 1430 cannot be understood only in the categories of going away from the reason or the act of unfaithfulness. – The Gospels and the Acts of Apostles provide us with so many evidences that ill people were coming to Jesus in order to find help and protection from him – he emphasized. They never had an attitude against Him! Today we are coming to You, Maryja, to listen to the beat of your heart which took this blow into itself, in order to transform it into strength and unity for the Nation and the Church, because you are our amazing help and protection – he said trustfully.
The metropolitan of Częstochowa decided about organizing expiatory devotions on Sunday on 16 December in the churches of the arch-diocese, with saying the Act of Compensating to the Virgin Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary and singing the supplication. Proclaiming this decision, he recalled the words of the Holy Father Benedict XVI of 12 September 2012 which became very current in reference with the profanation of the Image: ‘we often have a feeling in regard to the evil that we are not able to do anything but it is just our prayer which is the first and the most effective answer which we can give and which strengthens our everyday effort in order to protect the good’.
A German Protestant contributed to the protection of the Miraculous Image
The Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Jasna Góra was rescued thanks to the bullet-proof glass protecting it. Fr. Józef Płatek, to the request of the ‘Sunday’, gave important details. He admitted that, wanting to speak about the bullet-proof glass protecting the picture, one has to go back to the day of 23 February 1981 when he was a general of the Pauline’s Order. It was when the members of the Commission for the Conservation of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Jasna Góra during a meeting with him, with Fr. Konstancjusz Kunz – the prior of Jasna Góra at that time and with Fr. Melchior Króllik – a referent for the conservation of the Image, on the occasion of suggested renovation-conservation works of the ebony altar in the Chapel of our Lady, made a suggestion of protecting the Miraculous Image with the bullet-proof glass. It was to provide the protection to the Image and also conservatory necessity justified it. Fr. Józef Płatek made a contact at that time with Fr. Jan Wiesław Bochenek –the prior of the Pauline’s Monastery in Mainburg in Germany and asked for help in realising this initiative.
The conservatory works at the altar of Our Lady were begun in the beginning of the year 1984. At that time Father Jan Bochenek informed about the possibility of purchasing a suitable glass in Germany but its price was beyond the possibility of the Pauline’s Order. Father General obliged father Jan Nalaskowski – a general vicar, speaking German perfectly and Father Konstancjusz Kunz and fathers working in Germany to find sponsors for this foundation. Various attempts of organising the fund were undertaken and Father Jan Nalaskowski addressed his request to Caritas of the German Episcopal Conference which assigned a high but not high enough sum of money for this purpose. At that time new donors appeared. Professor Helmut Seling, a protestant and a director of a museum in Munich also joined with his help.
Finally, thanks to the care of the management of Jasna Góra at that time: Fr. Rufin Abramek – the prior of Jasna Góra, Fr. Jan Golonka – a curator of monuments of Jasna Góra, Fr. Leon Chałupki – the administrator of Jasna Góra, Fr. Izydor Matuszewski – a custodian and the help of professor Helmut Seling, it was possible to complete the conservation of the Jasna Góra altar devoted to God’s Mother and place a bullet-proof glass in it, protecting the Miraculous Image. The renovated altar with the mounted glass in it was sacrified on 8 December 1986 by cardinal Józef Glemp, a primate of Poland.
Fr. Józef Płatek gave also another important fact. It turns out that in 1981, two days before his death, cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, the primate of Poland, he gave quite significant donation to the general of the Pauline’s Order for the renovation of the Altar of Homeland and the Chapel of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady at Jasna Góra, as his jubilee gift for the Virgin and our Helper. He also cared about the safety of the Jasna Góra Image.
It was the way in which the circumstances were reconstructed in which the strengthening of the Image protection took place, with much help of the German Protestant. Thanks to it, on 9 December 2012 the Miraculous Image of Our Lady at Jasna Góra was intact despite the brutal attack.
The expiatory prayer is lasting all over Poland and the world. And in the sacristy of Jasna Góra books were put in which pilgrims write their words of grief and repentance for the public insulting the Blessed Icon of JasnaGóra.