The urn of the ground brought from the place of the catastrophe
In Vatican there were families of Smoleńsk victims, gathered in the Association of Families Katyń 2010. Among them were: Zuzanna Kurtyka - a widow of the chairman of the Institute of National Remembrance – the late Janusz Kurtyka, Jadwiga Czarnołęska-Gosiewska – a mother of the late Przemysław Gosiewski, Andrzej Melak, Dariusz Fedorowicz, Helena Kotzbach – the family representatives of the late Andrzej Karweta and the late Ewa Bąkowska. On 9 November, during the general audience, the relatives of Smoleńsk victims brought the urn of the ground from the place of the catastrophe onto the Holy Father’s hands; the urn was sprinkled with the blood of the members of the families and also contained the fragments of the airplane wreckage Tu-154M, as well as a letter of a woebegone mother of the vice Prime Minister Przemysław Gosiewski who had died tragically. In the letter written on behalf of the Association of Families Katyń 2010 we read: ‘Before 70 years, during the Second World War, in Katyń the Soviet oppressors murdered war prisoners – the officers of the Polish Army. On 10 April 2010, in order to pay a tribute to them during the Eucharist celebrated at their graves, the delegation with President of the Polish Republic – Lech Kaczyński - were flying to Katyń and as well as 95 prominent representatives of our country. The airplane was crashed above Smoleńsk in circumstances unexplained till now. There was no rescue action and the remnants of our beloved had been lying about in mud of the Smoleńsk airport for many weeks. The more time passes from this tragedy, the more painful is my helplessness and lack of possibility to explain the circumstances of their death, through which my despair and the despair of many people is growing, who has lost their Closest relatives in this tragedy – fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, children, brothers and sisters. As a mother who lost her son in this tragedy, I feel more and more that our government is trying to forget about this tragedy as quickly as possible. The meeting with Your Holiness is a great support for me and other woebegone families, as well as a hope that the truth of our closest relatives’ deaths will be explained. The lack of engagement of the international institutions as till now, is additionally deepening our grief. We are bringing what is the most precious to us onto the hands of His Holiness, that is, the ground from the place of the catastrophe with the remains of the airplane – and we ask you for a prayer for our dead relatives and blessing for us who are fighting for explaining the circumstances of their death’.
Zuzanna Kurtyka introduced the members of families of Smoleńsk victims to Benedict XVI. – The Pope was emotionally agitated when he learnt that they are the relatives of those who had died in the Smoleńsk catastrophe – she said. – The Holy Father shook our hands very cordially and with affection. The meeting of the family representatives with Benedict XVI was preceded by the Holy Mass, celebrated by Father Waldemar Gonczaruk CSsR at the grave of Blessed John Paul II.