A MEETING OF POLISH DIASPORA OF LATIN AMERICA
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The editorial team of ‘Niedziela’ and the chief editor were invited for a meeting on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the existence of the establishment of the Union of Polish Associations and Organizations of Latin America. It was held in Tenerife in Spain, in Las Caletillas town, on 26 – 27 July 2013. The meeting was started with the Holy Mass concelebrated and presided over by the bishop of the diocese of San Cristobal de La Laguna – Nivariense Bernardo Alvareza Afonso in the cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in La Laguna. Also there, last year, a monument in honor of the blessed John Paul II was consecrated, who presents the Holy Father in the company of happy children and being the symbol of the faith testimony for Polish Diaspora and inhabitants of Latin America.
We are built with the action of Poles, who organized themselves under the leadership of Jan Kobylański, the chairman of the Union of Polish Associations and Organizations of Latin America. In Poland his surname was often stigmatized, among the others, he was accused of anti-Semitism. Certainly, these are slanders. It is specific that Mr. Kobylański, despite his age of 90, distinguishes with extremely clever mind, common sense and – as I was told – he is still conducting a widely-ranging industrial activity, which is the source of his high incomes. He does not use all of them for himself, he spends his very big money on the integration of the Polish Diaspora of Latin America.
This Polish Diaspora does not belong to rich groups, which is seen among people arriving for meetings of the Union of Polish Associations and Organizations of Latin America. But their hearts beat with Polishness. These are people who love their homeland. Even those who cannot speak Polish today, enroll their children to groups of Polish Diaspora and feel Poles in spirit.
During the meetings with the Polish Diaspora in Tenerife, it was possible to talk with many interesting people, also people from Poland, who are often under the media pillory for their patriotism, are ridiculed and socially excluded. It is difficult, because instead of respect, these often meritorious people meet with a completely opposite and false evaluation.
Certainly, Poles abroad have various opinions, like each of us and we cannot reject anybody for his different opinion than ours. But one can see great care for Poland and the best wishes for it, nearly among all of them. For these reasons, among the others, the monument of John Paul II in Tenerife was funded so that everybody who arrives here can notice our great compatriot. The polish Diaspora also inscribes a beautiful card in the history of the Church in particular countries of Latin America and great gratitude for it was expressed by bishop Alvarez Afonso to Mr. Kobyliński. It was similarly in Montevideo, in Uruguay where Chairman lives and where we will also see the monument of John Paul II in the central place of the city. In the country which is famous for the headquarters of freemasonry – such a meaningful symbol of Polishness and the Church….Somebody took care of it, has financed it and cultivates it in the society.
And blessed John Paul II is, certainly, a spokesman of the values of the Gospel which was brought by Jesus Christ, but he is also the spokesman of Poland, Polish culture. Let’s notice that the Holy Father never concealed the fact that he was a Pole, but on the contrary – he spoke about it in many groups, emphasizing how important patriotism is and that good patriotism has nothing in common with nationalism – but on the contrary – it appreciates societies and enriches their lives, and their look at the future, etc.
In the far Tenerife there were words of sincere prayer in the intention for the homeland and many good words about Poland. Among the others, Fr. Inf. Józef Wójcik from Suchedniów was praying with us, who is the witness of Polishness, love to the homeland and entrustment to the Blessed Mother and who once became famous for stealing the Image of Visitation from Jasna Góra, where the image had been arrested and for transporting it to the place of peregrination in Radom; certainly, he was reporting everything on a regular basis to cardinal Stefan Wyszyński.
The meeting with the Polish Diaspora of Latin America was full of solemnity and care about the homeland, about its future and the future of young Poles. The fates of the homeland are an important issue for everybody. Elderly people see these fates and define them in a different way, whereas, for the young generation, the fates of the homeland are connected with lives of young people, lives of their children, with the history record. Therefore care about the homeland must be high and we must be grateful to Poles who care about it, who can live for it, work and devote their time. It must be stated with great grief that big media in Poland are reluctant to say about Polishness, they show much restraint towards what is important for the homeland. And we remember how strongly cardinal Stefan Wyszyński emphasized that we should maintain what is Poland, so that it would be appreciated and that we should do everything for the development of our homeland. And it is seen not only in the economic development but also in the development of culture, in education, in the social awareness. So, we should be grateful to Poles in exile, who care about these values, who pay attention to teaching Polish language, history, Catholic religion, which belongs to the character of our culture, our social life. Unfortunately, in our country, where there are some strange movements, we notice that the most important things are pushed away into the background and people connected with promoting Polish values are accused, for example, of anti-Semitism or other negative attitudes.
Such meetings as the ones in Tenerife should be recorded by our media. After all, this is great care about Polishness in far countries, connected with much effort and determination. Latin America are far-away countries where many Poles live, the countries which gave a refuge to our ancestors, because they had to wander in search for bread, often in war turmoil. Today their descendants, children grandchildren or great-grandchildren live there, who also want to feel and think in Polish, who love the homeland of their parents and grandparents.
So, the important ceremony of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Union of Polish Associations and Organizations of Latin America should sound in Polish mass media. Whereas such issues are sometimes treated in such a way as if somebody was doing something wrong, immoral. Therefore I want to inform our readers about it, so that they would know that there are people and issues which are really great and important, connected with our mother – homeland. Because they prove our heritage, roots, our Christian culture and have influence on our future. We can learn a lot from the Polish Diaspora, that the Polish nation will not allow for its disinheritance from the cross, the fact that it loves Christ and His Church. For, in the name of the Church and with the participation of priests, there are various meetings of Polish Diaspora because they are a sign that Christ is present in our culture and our life, in our future, present time and the past.