CARE ABOUT POLISH EMIGRANTS
In the Office of Pastoral Ministry of Polish Emigration at the Secretariat of the Polish Episcopal Conference in Warsaw on 6-8 February 2015 there was a meeting of the Presidium of the Polish Pastoral Council for Western Europe.
- At the Polish Episcopal Conference the Commission for Pastoral Ministry for Polish Diaspora and Poles Abroad functions – says bishop Wiesławn Lechowicz, a delegate for Pastoral Ministry of Polish Emigration. – We also have a separate body – the Polish Pastoral Council of Western Europe.
From time to time there are meetings of these groups which discuss current problems connected with pastoral ministry of emigration. – This year we have discussed preparations for the World Youth’s Days in Cracow, and also the forthcoming 1050th anniversary of Polish baptism. We were also talking about formation of priests who left for abroad – says the bishop.
The meeting of the Polish Pastoral Council of Western Europe in October is going to be devoted to the teaching of John Paul II about family. On the one hand, the society is being accompanied by the crisis of family, on the other hand – the Church is functioning in the atmosphere of the synod about family.
In the opinion of bishop Lechowicz, Poles living abroad, live similar problems with which our compatriots in Poland are struggling, although in a different dimension and in other proportions. Here a field is opened for emigration priests to act, who, in the first place want to provide them with sacramental care. For the time being, pastoral care should be focused on people who not only live far away from homeland, but are also away from the Church – says the hierarch. – According to statistics, 15 per cent of emigrants use the pastoral offer of the Church, so, here we direct our eyes to 85 per cent being out of our direct action.
The Polish Pastoral Council of Western Europe was established in 1992. It consists of 60 people, representatives of clergy, consecrated people and laity from 18 countries of Europe. On the helm of the Council there is a delegate of the Polish Episcopal Conference for Pastoral Ministry of Polish Emigration – bishop Wiesław Lechowicz, who is supported by the Presidium of the Council composed of: prelate priest Stefan Wylężek – the vice-chairperson of the Council, a rector of the Polish Catholic Mission in England and Wales; prof. dr. Piotr Małoszewski from Germany – the vice-chairperson of the Council; Fr. Dr. Krzysztof Tyliszczak – the Secretary of the Council, the chancellor of the Polish Catholic Mission in England and Wales; Fr. Inf. Stanisław Budyń – a rector of the Polish Catholic Mission in Germany; dr. Anna Łucka from France; Andrzej Michalski from Austria and Zenon Handzel from England.
The Presidium summed up the activity of the Council last year and prepared a plan of pastoral work for the current year, including a program of the general meeting of the Polish Pastoral Council of Western Europe, which will be held in Rome on 2-4 October. The topic of the meeting is going to be Pastoral Ministry of Married Couples and Families in Emigration. The Presidium also got acquainted with the situation of the Church in Poland and problems connected with pastoral ministry among families. Expressing care about Polish families, the Presidium consistently opposed to the decision of parliamentarians voting for accepting the Act about ratification of the Convention about preventing and fighting violence towards women and domestic violence. The Presidium fully shared the attitude of the Polish Episcopate in this issue, expressed in a letter addressed to the Marshal of the Seym of the Polish Republic. The debates were finished with the Holy Mass celebrated by archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, the chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference