Lednica gift of women
Over 80,000 young people from all over Poland and foreign guests participated in the 14th National Youth Meeting at Lednica Fields on 5 June. The motto was ‘Woman as Gift and Mystery.’
Woman – gift and mystery
During the meeting young people reflected on the mystery of woman according to the words of Fr Jan Gora, OP, the charismatic organiser and initiator of the Lednica meetings. The young people tried to realise the importance of women’s presence in everyone’s life, get to know better the archetype of Eve, the mission of Mary – in them the mission of every woman, mothers and sisters, and finally the mission of the Church, which is also a woman – the Spouse of Christ. This year’s programme embraced various aspects emphasising women’s presence in man’s life. The different pictures of the Mother of God from various regions of Poland were brought to Lednica. They were placed in front of the Gate of Fish. They symbolised the presence of the Mother of God among Polish youth. From early morning the young people received the sacrament of penance and adored the Blessed Sacrament in silence. The opening of the meeting was a solemn procession with the participation of the secular authorities, clergy and rectors of the institutions of higher education. The relics of St. Adalbert and the picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa were carried in the procession.
‘Eros et iuventus!’
A special guest of the meeting at Lednica was Dr Wanda Poltawska, an outstanding specialist in psychiatry, lecturer at many universities, close collaborator of John Paul II. In her speech she warned young people against early sexual initiation and stressed the importance of beautiful love and respect for one’s body. ‘We all have been created by God. The relationship between the Creator and the creation is eternal. Each of us is in such a relationship, relationship of love, or is lost’, Dr. Poltawska explained. She also encouraged young people to draw from the teachings of John Paul II, to defend chastity, to experience youth wisely and not to follow the lifestyle promoted by the mass media. Each participant received a copy of the book ‘Eros et iuventus!’, in which Wanda Poltawska presented her views on love and sexual life. Moreover, the participants received jars of money, gift of the beekeepers from Nowy Sacz, as an expression of woman’s sweetness.
Remembering the victims of 10 April 2010
The young people gathered at Lednica paid homage to the victims of the crash of the presidential plane at Smolensk by singing the national anthem solemnly and carrying a 100 meter long flag, which was taken over the whole area so that every participant could touch it and express his/her adherence to the homeland. Parachutists from some military unit jumped from the plane and landed among the young people, bringing Polish flags. After having landed they put flowers before the picture of Our Lady of Katyn. Each parachutist received five Lednica talents (coins) from Fr Jan Gora as gratitude for their jumps and tribute to the victims of the plane crash.
Lednica fields belong to Polish young people
All those who came to Lednica Fields became owners of this land. Fr Jan Gora and the Dominicans from Poznan symbolically gave Lednica Fields to Polish youth reading a solemn ‘Land Grant’, ‘Each of you can feel at home here. You are to sow seeds here. The seeds should grow and yield fruit for the future’, Fr Jan Gora explained the symbolic act of endowment. As an evidence of this act the young people received special certificates, which they signed by pressing their thumbs soaked in ink on the participants’ list.
Polish school of femininity
Reciting the fragments of ‘Bogurodzica’ [Mother o God], ‘Ksiega Henrykowska’ [The Henrykow Book], ‘Zapiski wiezienne’ [Prison Diary] of Primate Wyszynski and the fragment of the speech of John Paul II delivered in Gniezno in 1979, the actor Jerzy Zelnik showed the presence of Mary in the life of our nation and Polish culture. The performance ‘Eve – Mary – Ecclesia’ unveiled the mystery of woman, her archetype and the mission of the Church, the Spouse of Christ. At the end of the spectacle a tulip named after John Paul II, especially grown for the Pope, was presented. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow became the Godfather of the new tulip.
During another spectacle ‘The women who followed Christ’ the young people received the relics of Blessed Karolina Kozkowna, the patroness of chastity. Nuns, nurses and female scientists participated in this event. The representatives of the Movement of Pure Hearts briefly encouraged the young people to keep premarital chastity.
Following the example of John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI directed a message to the participants of the meeting. ‘Thinking about woman one cannot forget Mary, the Mother of our Lord, about Mary Magdalene, the apostle of the Resurrection or about Veronica, patroness of courageous and generous women of charity. You should remember them when you desire to reflect on the vocation of women: modern, educated, involved in social life; on the calling of wives and mothers educating children and forming men, or about consecrated women’, Benedict XVI wrote in his message read by Archbishop Henryk Muszynski, Primate Senior.
Choice of Christ
The most important moment of every meeting at Lednica is choosing Christ. All the young people gathered in the fields and the representatives of the international delegations, in the presence of Archbishop Henryk Muszynski, Primate Senior, made that choice. Then Bishop Wojciech Polak made ‘Great Confirmation of History’ during which he symbolically confirmed the whole Polish youth. Archbishop Henryk Muszynski presided over the Eucharist, celebrated by the priests who came with the young people to Lednica. The homily was delivered by Fr Jacek Salij, OP. He referred to the role of woman in everyone’s life and appealed to men to respect women in the contemporary world. The words of Fr Salij were greatly applauded. After the Eucharist there was a service of blessing women’s hands. The Lednica fields were in complete silence when the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament was carried through the Gate of the Third Millennium. Everyone adored Christ in silence, giving him all concerns, anxieties, future plans.
The young people gathered in Lednica also prayed to the Servant of God Fr Jerzy Popieluszko who was beatified on Sunday, 6 June. Fr Jerzy’s mother Marianna Popieluszko recorded a short message for the young people. She focused on God’s place in man’s life as the guarantee of success in all daily matters. The young people were in spiritual unity with the representatives of the Polish community in Chicago who began their Lednica meeting on the American land when the meeting in Poland was about to end.
The Hour of John Paul II
‘Lednica never forgets John Paul II like he never forgot Lednica’, Fr Jan Gora said at the beginning of the Hour of John Paul II. The young people sang the Litany to the Holy Father and prayed for his beatification. Jan Budziaszek, the drummer of the music band ‘Skaldowie’, performed a short concert honouring the Polish Pope and he spoke about his life, based on the prayer of the rosary and the example of John Paul II. The service ended with the act of dedication to Mary of young people in Poland and in the world and after that the participants went through the Gate of Fish.
Fr Jan Gora invited all young people for the next meeting at Lednica to be held on 4 June 2011, having the motto ‘John Paul the Great – Saint.’