AFFIDATO, THAT IS, ENTRUSTED
Fr. Mariusz Frukacz talks with an Italian goldsmith Michele Affidato
FR. MARIUSZ FRUKACZ: – When and how did the idea of making a replicas of crowns of pope Clemens XI appear?
MICHELE AFFIDATO: – I am an artist goldsmith who does sacral works. One day of met a girl from Poland, just from Częstochowa. Katarzyna knew my artistic path. We were talking about great worship to Mary, Madonna of Częstochowa. I told her about the worship to our Mary. I have met with John Paul II many times in my life. I can say about a great relation with our beloved great pilgrim of peace. The girl, I am talking about, invited me to Częstochowa. I remember being welcomed by Fr. Jan Golonka, who was responsible for Jasna Góra votives collections. It was the time when our relations were built and we were talking about our Madonnas. At that time I was not thinking of making any crowns for Our Lady. Before I left Częstochowa, I had realized that the 300th anniversary of the great event – coronation of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Częstochowa was forthcoming. I told Katarzyna that it would be beautiful if I could make crowns for Our Lady on that occasion. It has been nearly a year since that moment when Katarzyna informed me that Fr. Stanisław Rudziński - a new custodian of Jasna Góra Collections of Votives Art had suggested realizing it. I arrived at Częstochowa, showed a picture of some crowns which were to be similar to those which had been donated by Clemens XI in 1717. I added three new stars to the crowns which symbolize the Holy Trinity. This idea was approved. In realization of this project I received help also from the girl. And we started working on it.
– These days we are celebrating the 1st anniversary of the pilgrimage of the Holy Father Francis to Poland. Also other popes proved the close relation of the Holy See with Jasna Góra…
– It means that the Church in Poland is very important, really open and really friendly. I feel privileged that I could realize the project of the new crowns for Our Lady of Jasna Góra. I have worked for John Paul II and Benedict XVI and also for Francis. I have witnessed three pontificates of these three popes, their St. Peter’s ministry. In 1982, when John Paul II arrived at Crotone city, I saw this beautiful icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa. This is Black Madonna, similarly as ours from Capocolonna. During one of official meetings with John Paul II I brought crowns of Our Lady of Caramel to have them blessed. The Holy Father gave me the icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa. And just this Madonna entered my home and became very important in my life. Every time when I was looking at the Madonna from John Paul II, the pilgrim of peace for ages. The Polish Pope is always in my prayers. Mary has always been present in my life but I have never thought that one day I would be making the crowns for Her. In my artistic career I have done nearly 100 such works but these crowns are a real joy for me.
– Concluding, I would like to note that Your surname Affidato means ‘entrusted’. Does it also have a significance to you?
– Certainly, it does. I am proud that I am entrusted to Mary. I believe that Madonna will always guard me, as well as all of us, particularly now, when in the world the life is so difficult and there are so many wars. I believe that Mary can give us a better world.