VISITING POLES IN ROME
Włodzimierz Rędzioch talks with prelate Triest Paweł Ptasznik – a rector of the church of St. Stanisław in Rome
WŁODZIMIERZ RĘDZIOCH: – What tasks does the church of St. Stanisław fulfill today?
PRELATE PRIEST PAWEŁ PTASZNIK: – This church has always been the centre of pastoral ministry of Poles in the Roman diocese. At the church there is ‘missio cum cura animarum’ – a kind of a personal parish for all Poles on the area of the diocese. So, we have all rights of the parish, parish books and we do not have to refer to the territorial parish. Chaplaincy of this mission is pastoral ministry of Poles in Ostia and at the Roman church of the Redemptoris under the vocation of St. Alfons Maria Liguorigi. Every day two Holy Masses are celebrated here and on Sunday there are eight of them. There are pastoral groups here, such as a prayer group ‘Salvator’, Community of Families, Community of Home Church, a religious group of students. We prepare believers for the First Holy Communion, for the Confirmation, for marriage. At the church there is also the Polish Catholic Primary School and an information centre for pilgrims from Poland.
– There has been a hospice at the church for ages. Is it continuing its activity?
– Yes, it is. In this hospice pilgrims used to stay and a small group of Polish students were living here, who were studying in Rome. At present there is a small hotel which refers to that tradition. Also Delfini Palace belongs to the church, where we are planning to prepare flats for students soon.
– How many Poles are living in Rome at present? What do statistics say about it?
– According to official statistics, in the Roman diocese there are about 20 thousand Poles. It must be emphasized that this number has been decreasing for a few years – a lot of compatriots who have home or a possibility to work in the country, return to homeland. We do not register the inflow of new Poles, besides people who arrive here to work for a short time.
There are approximately 50-60 children getting prepared for the First Holy Communion, about 20 young people getting prepared for the Confirmation. The eight Sunday Holy Masses are attended by about 2 thousand believers, that is, 10 per cent of Poles from the diocese. A lot of Poles participate in the life of Italian parishes, especially in the case of mixed married couples, the Polish-Italian ones.
– What is the cultural activity of the church of St. Stanisław like?
– Our church is one of the centres of cultural life of Poles, and also a place of contacts with the Italians and not only. Recently there has been an exhibition organized by the Embassy of Macedonia, devoted to Mother Theresa of Calcutta and there was a concert in the Vilnius Philharmonic, organized by the Embassy of Lithuania. We want this place to live with the Polish and European culture, therefore, every month we try to organize a concert, an exhibition, a spectacle, a conference or a book presentation.