GRATITUDE FOR A PENNY
Am I not an egoist on a road? Do I stick to road rules? These and other eight questions should be added to the examination of conscience by all drivers. The Decalogue of a Driver is widespread by MIVA Poland - an organization which helps missionaries in gaining means of transport, but it also reminds drivers that love to a neighbor obliges also on roads.
Necessary cars, boats, horses
- For missionaries the means of transport is the basic tool of work. The most necessary ones are off-road vehicles and motorbikes, although also scooters, boats, river barges are used, and even draft animals - says Jerzy Kraśnicki, a director of MIVA Poland, who knows the needs of missionaries very well. He himself has served to the Republic of South Africa for 11 years. - Every missionary has a big area to cover- a dozen or a few dozens of missionary stations. In the Bolivian Andes or Amazon few means of transport are sometimes needed, for example, a motorbike, boat, horse, in order to get to believers. Every missionary explains in his request addressed to us, what kind of vehicle he needs - explains Fr. Kraśnicki.
Last year MIVA Poland met 53 requests of Polish missionaries working in the countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia. Most of these requests concerned help in purchase of off-road vehicles. In total 38 cars, 8 motorbikes, 32 bikes, ambulances, buses, boat engines and boats got to missionary centres. These were awaited donations. 'The mission Mpanshya is situated in a bush, 200 km away from the nearest city - Lusaki - writes Fr. Maciej Oset working in Zambia. - The parish comprises 14 chapels on accessible routes, the furthest ones are distanced by 65 km. A motorbike purchased thanks to Your help and kindness will let me reach with the Good News to people living in a bush'. Also the Carmelite nuns from Dimako in Cameroon thank: 'The year 2013 began with Your gift - a new car Toyota Hilux, which we could purchase thanks to Your help. We started building of a new medical centre, so the car immediately is used for widely understood pastoral ministry, medical and building services.
A tractor for nuns
Over 267 thousand euro were assigned for the purchase of vehicles by MIVA Poland. These means were given by drivers - because one of the ideas for gaining funds for means of transport for missionaries is the 'Action of Saint Christopher - one penny per one kilometer'. It is a suggestion that a driver should give one penny for the purchase of means of transport for missionaries for every kilometer driven in a safe way. - Some drivers are very precise and write on transfer bank forms how many kilometres they travelled and pay an adequate sum of money to a penny - says Fr. Kraśnicki.
The action started in 2000, with the establishment of MIVA Poland and since then the organization has supported the purchase of among the others, 346 cars, including 7 ambulances and 4 buses to missionary schools, 72 motorbikes, 171 bikes, 8 boats, 6 engines for boats, 2 river barges, 2 tractors, 1 quad bike, and among more untypical 'vehicles' - 2 horses with harness and one rickshaw. Other missionaries are waiting. Father Eugeniusz Kowol OMI works in Czad, his present mission comprises 27 stations, he is having a parish house built and is asking for help in purchasing a motorbike. Discalced Carmelite Nuns, who established an enclosed monastery in Oziornoje in Kazakhstan, need a tractor for growing a garden which is the source of their life. Fr. Marcin Rumik works among Eskimos in the diocese of Churchill Hudson Bay in the northern Canada and is asking for help in the purchase of a snowmobile. Fr. Grzegorz Jasłowski, a monk from the Congregation of Saint Michael Archangel, a missionary in Papua-New Guinea needs a quad bike, because in a mountainous area other vehicles will not be suitable. Claretine Nuns from Mysore in India who work among the poor from slums, providing medicines, running vocational courses, teaching literacy to women and girls - are asking for a motorbike. Also missionaries from Cameroon, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and other countries are trying to gain mean of transport essential in their work.
Bikes for catechists
- At present 212 Polish female and male missionaries are working on missions in 94 countries in the world. These are diocesan priests, monks and nuns and laymen - informs Fr. Kraśnicki. - They go to people with the Gospel, but they also bring them various kinds of help, they can do very little on their own, indeed, in order to find a local support.
This support are catechists for whom MIVA Poland purchased 32 bikes last year. - Catechists are volunteers, local cooperators of missionaries, who play a significant role in their work - says Fr. Kraśnicki. They have evangelical eagerness and, knowing an area, can reach to many communities easier and faster. For a missionary who has many stations, they are great help in the basic evangelization, preparations for baptism, organizational matter and communication with people. However, they need a cheap means of transport, that is, a bike. A purchase of a bike for a catechist is expenditure of average 100 euro. During the Year of Faith now MIVA Poland is promoting this action in a special way, as a possibility of fulfilling a deed of faith and giving one's contribution to the effort of missionaries.
Setting off with the Gospel
The second purpose of the activity of MIVA is evangelization of drivers. It is all about promoting safe travel, and speaking more precisely - about reminding that a way of participating in traffic is also a testimony of our faith. The number of accidents and people who are their casualties proves that we do not have this awareness. Every accident is an individual tragedy, but reasons are still the same: alcohol, reckless speed, ostentatious breach of rules. - The commandment 'do not kill' refers also to drivers - reminded Fr. Marian Midura this spring, a national priest of drivers and he appealed: 'So, let's open the door to Christ, as well as the doors of our vehicles, so that God's law appear in them forever, so that we would live our faith and love on our roads.
Forming of our consciences, which should function more effectively than fines or speed cameras, is supported by the nationwide pastoral initiatives of MIVA Poland and the National Pastoral Ministry of Drivers: the April Sunday of Prayer for Drivers, May Pilgrimage of Drivers to Jasna Góra, the November World Day of Memory about Casualties on Roads. The most known action is the Nationwide Week of Saint Christopher celebrated in July.
- Many parishes have their own ideas for celebration of the Week of Saint Christopher - informs Fr. Jerzy Kraśnicki. - We, as MIVA, focus on three events this year. We are going to inaugurate the week on 21 July in the Cathedral in Warsaw, during the Holy Mass, which starts at 9.30. On 25 July in the parish of the Holy Spirit in Mielec at 7.00,there is going to be the Holy Mass in the intention of Polish drivers, next there is going to be a happening ' Day without a fine'. The most spectacular event will be a two-day cycle of events in Cracow - on 27 and 28 July entitled: 'MIVA is sailing near Rio on water and on land'.
The action 'MIVA is sailing' is to remind us that there are countries in which sailing means of transport play a significant role. Missionaries working in Brazil, on the area of Amazon, in Bolivia and other countries know about it. In our country, during the Week of Saint of Christopher cars and motorbikes are usually sacrificed, this time, for the first time, MIVA had taken care of a possibility of sacrificed river barges and boats.
The 'MIVA is sailing' is organized together with the Cracow Sailing of Passengers and the Salesian Missionary Volunteer Organization 'The young to the world'. 'Niedziela' is a media patron of this event. -We can announce many attractions - says Fr. Kraśnicki.
- The missionary picnic 'With missions around the world' will present us the work of missionaries sent to the end of the world. There are going to be, among the others: a photographic exhibition, stalls with missionary souvenirs, meetings with missionaries, performances of the African band 'Ricky Lion', shows of crafts and tradition. The Salesians invite everybody to visit their educational park with 'Villages of the world'. There is certainly going to be a town of traffic, visiting Cracow sailing units, sailing in the Vistula.
A full program of the event is on Internet on the websites: www.miva.pl, www.mivaplywa.pl , www.statekkrakow.com.