THEY MAINTAIN FAITH OF FATHERS AND TRADITION
Poles and Polish Diaspora in the diocese of Rockiville Centre on the so-called Long Island, have been gathering together for a dozen years, around the local Archdiocese pastor, under the lead of one of Polish bishops in order to manifest their faith, relation to tradition and the Church. In this way they contribute to enriching multicultural society of the local Church in the United States. The organizer of the meeting is usually the diocesan branch of the Polish-American Priests Association (PAPA). The new chairman of the branch is Fr. Canon M.A. Piotr Rożek, a priest coming from the archdiocese of Lublin, and at present the parish priest of the church of St. Jadwiga in Floral Park. Here also his predecessor retired prelate priest Edward Wawerski resides, who also comes from the archdiocese of Lublin.
Recently such a meeting took place on 27 January 2014. In the cathedral of St. Agnieszka about 600 people gathered at the Holy Mass. In the beginning Fr. Rożek welcomed all the gathered and expressed his particular joy about the presence of bishop Ryszard Karpiński from Lublin. He also announced that the local Ordinary bishop William Murphy is on his way to the meeting, returning from his pastoral duties. Bishop Karpiński greeted all the gathered on behalf of the Polish Episcopal Conference, especially archbishop Stanisław Budzik from Lublin who had presided over the similar ceremony in the previous year and bishop Wiesław Lechowicz from Tarnów, the delegate of the Polish Episcopal Conference for Pastoral Ministry of Polish Emigration. Readings and psalms were performed by representatives of the youth, whom s. Matea from the convent of Benedictine Missionary Sisters were accompanying. In Huntington this convent runs a house of social care for elderly and ill people.
In his homily bishop Karpiński said that the Sunday which had gathered them in the cathedral, can be called Sunday of brightness. – On this Sunday we are thinking about direct witnesses of this brightness from two thousand years before: simple pastors and scholars wisemen from the East, about brightness which enlightened our nation 1050 years ago and we are already getting prepared for this anniversary. We are thinking about St. John who was elected by God and sent out in order to give the testimony about the brightness as he states it in the end of the prologue to his Gospel. We are also thinking about blessed John XXIII who somehow opened windows and doors of the Church in order to let in more light through the so-called ‘aggiornamento’, and to bring closer the Church and the contemporary world to each other. We are thinking about the apostle Paul and his mystery of conversion in front of the gate of Damascus through the unusual brightness dazzling him. We are thinking about God’s servant pope Paul VI, who courageously continued ‘aggiornamento’ of the Church through complementing the Vatican Council, the revival of the synod institutions and 8 apostolic journeys to various continents. We are thinking about John Paul I, pope of smile and catechist of the whole world, who was the first to take on these two names. And, being encouraged – before the Church and the world got accustomed to them - to resign from one of them and said that he was consciously choosing these two names and that he would not resign from any of them, and he expressed his hope that his successor would also take on this name (according to the report of the former Secretary – bishop John Magee from Ireland). And it happened so on 16 October 1987 when our Great Compatriot ‘from a far-away country’ was elected pope, who is blessed and will be saint cardinal Karol Wojtyła soon. Wasn’t John Paul II elected in order to bring the Gospel all over the world? This is proven by these 104 apostolic journeys to various countries and all continents. We are thinking about the richness of his teaching addressed to us, his compatriots, from the Vatican hill and during 9 visits in our country and meetings with Poles and Polish Diaspora in over 40 countries. We are thinking about who he used to cheer us up when we were experiencing gloomy days of the martial law. How many wonderful tips for us he included in a prayer to Our Lady of Jasna Góra, whom we are asking for intercession also today in this cathedral. We are thinking about how he used to teach us to use freedom, gained through a prayer and fights, luckily not through bloodshed, , whose evidence is, among the others, the 46th International Eucharistic Congress in Wrocław on ‘Eucharist and freedom’, with the motto: ‘Christ freed us towards freedom’ (Ga 5.1). We thank God’s Providence for the wonderful example of vocation for holiness which John Paul II was realizing in his whole life. Therefore, we are glad that we can get to know his personal notes which were being analyzed in details as a valuable material during the beatification process, as a valuable testimony of his deep religious life. Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ, a press spokesman of the Holy See, recently said in an interview for the Polish Television that it was a prayer which was the deepest dimension of the life of John Paul II.
Today we are listening to the voice of St. Paul from the second reading (1 Cor. 1.10-13.17), who warns us against our allowing for being divided in the Church. Aren’t divisions, also among believers, both in our country and on emigration, our Polish specialty? Listening to the words of the Gospel about vocation of Apostles (Mt 4.12-23), we are thinking about our vocation to faith and to holiness as a great treasure with which we can enrich our continent of America. And, finally, let’s ask John Paul II with the words of cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from the funeral homily of the Polish Pope, to take care of us from Heaven.
During the Holy Mass, according to the Polish tradition, Polish carols were being sung by believers and the choir of Polish Diaspora ’Akcent’. Before blessing, bishop Murphy had greeted the gathered believers in English and in Polish. He thanked for a testimony of faith and promised to pay a visit to Lublin on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of erecting the Metropolitan Seminary. In the end he gave everyone pastoral blessing in Latin.
Complement of the ceremony for the Polish Diaspora was a joyful agape in a parish hall in the church of St. Władysław in Hempstead. To the invitation of the local administrator of the parish – Fr. Piotr Wąsek, also from the archdiocese of Lublin, about 400 people arrived here with both bishops and pastors of the Polish Diaspora in this diocese, who were celebrating the Holy Mass. Among the priests celebrating the Holy Mass there was also prelate priest Janusz Urbańczyk, an employee of the diplomatic mission of the Holy See at the UNO.