BISHOP JAN WĄTROBA AN ORDINARY OF RZESZÓW
A solemn takeover of the diocese by the new bishop of Rzeszów Jan Wątroba took place on 20 July this year. The ingress started with a procession to the cathedral of Rzeszów of the Blessed Heart of Lord Jesus. In the door of the church bishop Wątroba greeted the parish priest of the cathedral, giving him the cross to kiss. The congregated bishops, priests, nuns, religious movement representatives, parish delegations and guests were greeted by the bishop senior Kazimierz Górny, the first bishop of Rzeszów. Next, archbishop Celestino Migliore, an apostolic nuncio in Poland, announced a bulla of pope Francis in the diocese, appointing bishop Jan Wątroba a new ordinary of Rzeszów. As a sign of taking over the pastoral ministry in the diocese, bishop Wątroba received a crosier and settled down in the bishop's cathedral. Another part of the ingress was homage, that is, an act of worship, respect and Christian obedience.
'Let gentleness and humility be always a sign of our ministry' - bishop Wątroba encouraged in his homily. Referring to the words of Christ, who spoke about himself that he was gentle and humble in his heart, he explained: 'We are supposed to be obedient to God like Him, obedient to His will, gentle and humble in our hearts'. He noted that being a gentle man who is of a humble heart, is a great program for a Christian. 'Gentleness, goodness, humility, meekness' - they turn out to be victorious, they are power' - he was saying and encouraging to reject the desire for revenge and anger. The new bishop of Rzeszów announced that he wanted to help all diocese inhabitants, especially those who 'are experiencing various kinds of crisis and are groaning with their painful experiences', in following Jesus who is gentle and humble. 'I really want to carry the yoke with you, through: a prayer, a word, pastoral ministry, whole effort of everyday life, although I am myself weak, but armed with power of Jesus' - said bishop Wątroba. The ceremony was attended, among the others, by the chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference archbishop Józef Michalik, the metropolitan of Lvov of the Latin rite archbishop Mieczysłąw Mokrzycki, archbishop Henryk Hoser - bishop of Warsaw-Prague, the representatives of provincial and local authorities, rectors of universities.
Before the end of the Holy Mass, congratulations and wishes of fruitful pastoral ministry were said to bishop Wątroba by, among the others, archbishop Józef Michalik and the metropolitan of Częstochowa archbishop Wacław Depo. Whereas Father Izydor Matuszewski - the general of the Pauline Fathers' Order and Father Roman Majewski - the prior of Jasna Góra gave the bishop a copy of the Miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa. Bishop Wątroba thanked the participants of the ceremony; he addressed in a friendly way to the editorial team of 'Niedziela' and Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś, the editor-in-chief.
Bishop Jan Wątroba was born on 4 December 1953 in Wieluń. He was ordained a priest on 27 May 1979 in the cathedral of Częstochowa by bishop Stefan Bareła. He worked as a vicar, took care of Polish pilgrims in Centro Pastorale 'Corda Cordi' in Rome. At the Lateran University he obtained the Bachelor's degree in pastoral theology and at the Academy of Catholic Theology in Warsaw - the PhD degree in theology. For many years he had served as a secretary and a chaplain of the bishop of Częstochowa Stanisław Nowak. In the year 1994 he became a rector of the Higher Seminary in Częstochowa and he had been holding this function till the moment of being appointed as an auxiliary bishop in Częstochowa by John Paul II. He received the bishop sacra in the arch-cathedral of Częstochowa on 20 May 2000. His bishop call are the words: 'Here I am coming, in order to meet your will' ('Ecce venio'). In the Polish Episcopal Conference the bishop Jan Wątroba is a member of the Commission of Clergy, and at a plenary meeting of the Polish Episcopal Conference in June 2013 he was elected as the representative of the Council for Family. Pope Francis appointed bishop Jan Wątroba as a bishop of Rzeszów on 14 June 2013.
The diocese of Rzeszów was established on 25 March 1992. It comprises about 597.4 thousand of the Catholics, belonging to 240 parishes. About 700 diocesan priests, over 100 convent priests and 325 nuns work in the diocese.