FUNERAL OF ARCHBISHOP IGNACY TOKARCZUK
On 2 January 2013 in the arch-cathedral of Przemyśl there were funeral celebrations of archbishop Ignacy Tokarczuk, the 67th bishop of Przemyśl and the first metropolitan of Przemyśl, who was administering the diocese in the years 1965-93, and he gained the name of ‘bishop steadfast’ for his activity during the period the Polish People’s Republic. The apostolic nuncio archbishop Celestino Migliore read out a telegram from the Holy Father Benedict XVI. ‘A prominent pastor went away to God, who cared about believers entrusted to him, with love. Surely, he will come into history as a steadfast builder of churches, but also as a fervent guide of clergy and believers in difficult times of the communist regime’ – wrote cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the secretary of the state of the Holy See on behalf of the Pope.
The holy mass was presided by the metropolitan of Cracow cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz. The last farewell of the late bishop was attended by many bishops from Poland, priests from the archdiocese of Przemyśl and a few thousand believers.
Archbishop Ignacy Tokarczuk died on 20 December 2012 in his flat in Bishops’ House.
As he emphasized in his words at the beginning of the holy Mass, archbishop Józef Michalik, the archbishop senior had definitely wanted to stay at home till the last moment of his life.
The homily was given by the bishop of Kielce Kazimierz Ryczan, coming from Żurawica near Przemyśl. He emphasized that archbishop Tokarczuk was a pastor who despite cunning plans of authorities, had fulfilled his evangelizing mission and strengthened his brothers in faith. He reminded words of the long-term bishop of the diocese of Przemyśl, who used to repeat that altars should be built because at the altar God’s people unites and becomes solidary. – It was the way how new Poland was getting born – admitted the preacher.
Bishop Ryczan reminded about the person and biography of the long-term ordinary of Przemyśl. – Many built churches and chapels without permission are only an outer picture of what was more important. Subjectivity of parish community was being realized there, self-government and responsibility was born, real solidarity was created although nobody did not name it with by word – he mentioned.
At the end of the holy mass bishop Edward Białogłowski said that archbishop Tokarczuk had had three favourite places in the Bishops’ House: the chapel, his room where he had worked and welcomed guests and his personal library. – He was a titan of work – he added.
The body of archbishop Tokarczuk was rested in the crypts of the arch-cathedral of Przemyśl.