ONTO THE MONT BLANC WITH DECALOGUE
Darek Malejonek, Karol Cierpica, Fr. Krzysztof Ciebień, Radek Grabowski, Łukasz Pędzimąż –these are only a few mentioned members of an unusual team which at the turn of July and August 2018 set off to the highest peak of Europe – Mont Blanc called the Roof of Europe.
It began from music
The expedition was a continuation of the Decalogue project within which the plaques were taken to various places of the world by, among the others, Marek Kamiński. The traveler began with the Giewont to where he took them on the first day of the pilgrimage to Poland begun by pope Francis, later they also got onto the Synaj Mount in the Holy Land. The expeditions connected with taking the plaques of Decalogue are a part of the Decalogue project. And everything began with music. The ten God’s Commandments were to be reminded by the CD ‘Decalogue’ whose pieces of music by performers and composers – refer to the successive commandments. It was made, among the others, by: Michał Lorenc, Michael Patrick Kelly, Marcin Pospieszalski, Luxtorpeda, Levi Sakala, ‘Maleo’. This CD inspired authors and publishers to go further which resulted in taking the plaques onto the Giewont, Synaj and now Mont Blanc.
The Decalogue plaques were made by an artist Kamil Drapikowski. Normally they are kept in a monastery in Grabowiec belonging to little sisters of Bethlehem and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St. Bruno- this is the only convent place in Poland. In the home monastery of the convent which is in the heart of the land of the Carthusians in Grand-Chartreuse near Grenoble in France, the travelers found a place for accommodation.
A prayer for Europe
The team, which set off with the plaques of the Ten Commandments onto the Mont Blanc, entrusted Europe to God in a prayer on the highest peak of the Alps, so that it would return to Decalogue, uncovering its deep sense and wisdom. This is reminding of the significance of God’s commandments in human life. Each expedition is accompanied by a particular intention, a fervent prayer and also a purpose. This year the Decalogue project has been inscribed into the ceremonies of the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence. This project also supports the work of the Papal Association Help to Church in Need, which helps, among the others, the Christians living in the fieriest regions of the world. Fr. Waldemar Cisło – the director of the association and other members of the team, present at the expedition, who did not decide for the climbing, were praying in the monastery of the little sisters of Bethlehem, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St. Bruno. They were uncovering the nearby mountains routes. A few people had an occasion to ascend from Chamonix by a cable car up to the altitude of 3880 meters above the sea, towards the Mont Blanc. Radek Grabowski, an initiator of the CD and the expeditions, pays attention to the cover of the CD ‘Decalogue’ prepared by Damian Styrna. – It refers to a journey which we are trying to make – he says. – Before that the Giewont, Synaj Mount, now the Mont Blanc. We are achieving the peaks not only in a physical sense, but mainly in the spiritual one. For me the inspiration and mobilization is life of other people, such as Karol – a veteran from Afghanistan, or ‘Maleo’. In today’s world it is really necessary to remind of Christian values. The group working on the ‘Decalogue’ project found a method to it. We all are needed by God in His plans. Each of us can add their own ‘brick’ to change the world – he says.
Jesus was with us there
We had Eucharist and adoration on the same arête at the Mont Blanc. We had the peak behind our backs, maybe a few hundred metres away – something incredible! – another participant of the expedition Karol Cierpica says with excitement. – We were praying for Europe. We took our all intentions. I thanked God for saving my life, we were praying for Michael and for all 44 Polish soldiers who had been killed in Afghanistan (Karol’s life was saved during the mission in Afghanistan by an American soldier Michael Oflis who was killed himself during that action). – It was a manifestation of faith, evangelization. There, on the Roof of Europe, we were particular witnesses. Climbing this mount is reminding that every day we should ‘climb’ with Decalogue. Beautiful weather, the sun, snow. It was where I strongly felt that Decalogue is something which is necessary! Do not breach God’s principles, change the world in another way. Love your family. Tell others about God in your life. Groups of climbers passing by, tourists observing us were surprised by Eucharist celebrated in this place. Fr. Krzysztof Ciebień, a priest and alpinist, celebrated the Holy Mass in the intention of faith renewal in Europe. During his homily he reminded that it is not necessary to take the plaques with the engraved Decalogue onto the peak, but it is important to achieve these laws in one’s heart and in everyday life. SO that Decalogue and God’s principles would be in the first place, as when He is in the first place, everything is in their right place. Darek ‘Maleo’ Malejonek admits that it was the first time he had been in such high mountains. – When you are walking along a path as wide as your feet, where on the one and the other side there is an abyss, and snow is so friable that it melts and there is no way to support oneself, there is a moment when you must overcome your fear and entrust yourself – he says. – There were 9 of us walking on one line! There was a purpose: to celebrate Eucharist on the ridge in order to entrust Europe to God, give a testimony that Decalogue is still binding, that it is a road map for a man, an instruction of life. Today we can see that Europe is not coping with evil. It has got two ways: either overcoming evil when following Jesus, or negating the Truth. The expedition was a great effort for everybody. On our way I was heard the words of a song in my mind: ‘(…) never give in, never say no (…) it has no right to succeed’ or ‘Alibi’. Indeed we had an alibi for that craziness…Decalogue is like a thermometer, it shows us what the state of our spiritual organism is, what condition we, as people, have. Whereas Europe broke down this thermometer and does not know how ill it is, so we were praying for our continent on its highest peak. From the top one can see generosity of God the best, who created the beautiful world for us. Looking at it, you feel God’s love. I was as happy as a child there, and it is an incredible feeling – says Darek Malejonek.
An example attracts
Another participant of the expedition is Jacek Urbanowicz. He works with Radek Grabowicz, loves the mountains, so the expedition to the Alps is his another challenge. – This is a quirk of fate that I could take part in that event. The Holy Mass on the ridge and climbing the peak in a big group is an unusual experience. The very altitude made us a bit closer to the sky – says Jacek.
Aleksandra Malejonek is the only woman in the team. – I have never climbed before – she says. – There was a lot of fear, that abyss from the one and the other side, a strong start. My father told me about this project and I said: I will go. It was a wonderful purpose – reminding about Decalogue. It was an incredible lesson of humility towards nature and a fight with fear and tiredness. I was closer to God than ever before. During Eucharist there, on the top, I was praying for the young, so that God would ignite thirst in their hearts anew to be closer to Him. I think that I will go back there, stronger by those experiences. After that Eucharist, when we entrusted whole Europe to God, there was no such fear any more as during our climbing. We also entrusted our life to God totally.
Under the eye of a professional
The guardian of the expedition was an alpinist, mountaineer Łukasz Pędzimąć. Last October he climbed the Mont Blanc. – I do not perceive this expedition as a realized purpose. Every climbing the mountain is different and makes you happy regardless of whether you get onto the peak or not. A path will always teach you something, and will help you discover something. You discover yourself, the mountain, your weaknesses and strengths. This time it was something else – the plaques of Decalogue. This was an unusual experience – meeting a priest on the peak of the mountain, during Eucharist, a priest who had climbed with us before! We all felt like brothers. When looking at the scale of difficulties, climbing was easy. However, for people who had been doing it for the first time, it was a stunt. It was their real Everest. They were wearing crampons, using ice axes, and being belayed. They had to climb together being joined into one bond, with one rope. It also unites. They devoted nearly a year to get prepared for that expedition.
Thanks to Radek, the Decalogue project attracts incredible people and ignites their desire to create next initiatives promoting God’s commandments. One of such events was a vernissage ‘Decalogue in pictures’ held in the Museum of Coins and Medals named John Paul II in Częstochowa. Soon after, as on 16 October this year, in Rzeszów, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the election of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła a pope – from the initiative of the Papal Association Help to Church in Need, the ‘Europa Christi’ movement and the Catholic Weekly ‘Sunday’ – there is going to be concert ‘Decalogue’ to which we already invite you.
Translated by Aneta Amrozik
Niedziela 33/2018 (19 VIII 2018)