Today courageous faith is needed
After the nomination for the metropolitan of Częstochowa, Archbishop Wacław Depo came to God’s Mother of Jasna Góra with a bouquet of red roses. On 2 February 2012 there was his ingress into the cathedral basilica in Częstochowa.
On 29 December 2011, just after Pope Benedict XVI officially announced his decision about nominating a new metropolitan of Częstochowa, Archbishop Wacław Depo, who had received this grace, said: - I will always be close to people and I will lead them to Christ.
On traces of great Poles
– The path of faith, which I continue, will follow the traces of prominent people strongly connected with the new diocese: the God’s servant – primate Stefan Wyszyński and Blessed John Paul II – the new Archbishop Metropolitan of Częstochowa emphasized. He expressed his desire for entrustment to God’s Mother, which is a key for these two great people and also became his road. It turns out that it has been so for a long time. We can read the bishop’s motto inscribed in the emblem of Archbishop Depo: ‘Ad Christum Redemptorem hominis’ (‘towards Christ, the Redeemer of a man’). These are the words quoted from the first encyclical of John Paul II ‘Redemptoris hominis’. On the day of his ingress he quoted the words of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński: ‘I love homeland more than my own heart’. And he added: ‘I love the Church which is in all of you more than my own heart’. In the first pastoral letter to his diocesans, the new Metropolitan of Częstochowa wrote, quoting the words of Benedict XVI: ‘We do not work to defend our particular Posts of the pastoral ministry or a strategy of directing people but we work to open the streets of our cities and the world for Christ’.
An expected shepherd
Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak, in his letter to diocesans, wrote, presenting his successor in the capital of Częstochowa: ‘We welcome the new bishop as a real gift of God for the Church. For, our Christian life is based on the authority and the Office of St. Peter and twelve Apostles. Saying about the new Metropolitan of Częstochowa in the Catholic Radio Fiat, Bishop Antoni Długosz from Częstochowa noted the unusual merits of Archbishop’s Depo character, first of all, his openness to another man. He is extremely warm-hearted and close to everybody. I think that he will consider everybody in his pastoral love, including those who are not remembered by their families. I am deeply convinced that he will show his face of a really loving father in which we can see the reflection of Jesus’ face. During the ingress of the new Metropolitan, Bishop Długosz continued his speech, adding that being a father, a shepherd of the spiritual capital of Poland is also being a shepherd for pilgrims coming to Jasna Góra from whole Poland and the world. He pointed out to the special grace of the election, which is experienced by Archbishop Depo because he came to the diocese situated around Jasna Góra, which naturally makes the place closer to Heaven; and from Heaven it is closer to God.
– We have a bishop of Mary, a bishop devoted to Blessed Mother, a bishop who will give an example of religiousness of Mary like his predecessors – Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś said after the proclamation of the new Metropolitan of Częstochowa. – We were lucky because all the shepherds of the Church of Częstochowa got strongly attached to God’s Mother and felt like at home in the Chapel of the Miraculous Picture – he noted.
He came with a bouquet of red roses
After his nomination, on 2 January 2012, Archbishop Wacław Depo arrived at his address in Częstochowa for the first time, a month before the solemn ingress. He visited the Metropolitan Curia, the cathedral of the Holy Family in Częstochowa, and also the Higher Seminary of the Archdiocese of Częstochowa, as well as the editorial office of the Catholic weekly ‘Sunday’. He came to God’s Mother with a bouquet of red roses. In the presence of Pauline Fathers he celebrated of the Holy Mass which he called his Jasna Góra First Mass. He also conducted the Jasna Góra Appeal Prayer and entrusted himself to God’s Mother. – Tonight, by the will of Your Son and in the obedience of the faith to the Church, I entrust myself to you for the first time in the new role which was given to me, the fifth bishop and metropolitan of Częstochowa by Holy Father Benedict XVI – he said. I entrust everything to you what was the fruit of my pastoral ministry in the diocese of Zamość and Lubaczów and, first of all, the people on my road...
Through Vatican to Częstochowa
Before Archbishop Depo officially took over the archdiocese of Częstochowa, he had gone to Vatican in order to thank Benedict XVI for the nomination and receive Pope’s blessing. He experienced the grace of the meeting with Pope on 25 January this year. And then, like a father does to his children – he shared his testimony of his personal meeting with Pope and the words of their conversation, with his new diocesans: ‘When I asked Pope for his apostolic blessing for all of us, Holy Father expressed his simple but obliging request to me and to all of us: ‘Ask in my intention in front of God’s Mother’s image at Jasna Góra!’ My answer was also simple: ‘We pray and promise to express our request to God’s Mother all the time’...I took this task into my heart and I share it with you so that our prayer would always be the expression of relationship, unity and love to the successor of St. Peter who leads the Church on the roads of time in a responsible way’ (from the first pastoral letter of Archbishop Wacław Depo to the faithful of the archdiocese of Częstochowa, read in churches on 5 February 2012). On the following day, after the audience with Pope, Archbishop Depo accepted and took as his own path of great Poles and stopped at the grave of Blessed John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica where he was celebrating the Holy Mass. Later he started his journey back to Poland. However, this time he went from the airport not to Zamość but to Częstochowa, to his new home – as Bishop of Częstochowa - Jan Wątroba informed us.
Taking over the authority
On the Feast of Lord’s Presentation, on 2 February 2012, Archbishop Wacław Depo solemnly entered the cathedral basilica in Częstochowa. And this was a great ingress. Despite the extremely frosty aura – mercury columns dropped to 20 degrees below zero that morning – there was a joyful atmosphere of family feast, warmed up by warm hearts of everybody welcoming the new father of the archdiocese. The celebration was participated by 65 hierarchs with Archbishop Celestino Migliore – the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Józef Kowalczyk – the Primate of Poland, Archbishop Józef Michalik – the Chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski – the Chairman of the Papal Council for the Pastoral Ministry of the Health Service and Archbishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki from Ukraine and Bishop Antoni Dziemonko from Belarus. The ingress was attended by senior primates: Cardinal Józef Glemp and Archbishop Henryk Muszyński. It was also attended by parliamentarians and senators, the representatives of state and municipal authorities, rectors and professors of universities, especially the Catholic University in Lublin and the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński in Warsaw, the representatives of religious movements and associations and the monks. There was also the closest family of the new Metropolitan: brothers - Jan and Jerzy and cousin - Andrzej Jarzyński – the mayor of the hometown Szydłowiec and priest dean Adam Radzimiński from the parish church of St. Zygmunt in Szydłowiec. There were also delegations from Radom and Zamość from where the new Metropolitan came to Częstochowa. – You came to check whether Your Bishop has been suitably welcomed here. – Archbishop Michalik joked. There were many people of consecrated life. Pauline Fathers from Jasna Góra, with their representative prior Father Roman Majewski, gave a copy of the Miraculous Picture of God’s Mother to the new Archbishop of Częstochowa. The solemn Holy Mass was celebrated by over 400 priests.
God’s truth, not survey, counts
In his homily Archbishop Wacław Depo emphasized that bishop’s pastoral ministry must be full of the courage of humility, which does not ask about what dominant opinion says about him or what media surveys are showing, but it is based on the criteria of God’s truth and it is engaged for the truth at any time, in order to point out to a mistake and call for conversion.
– Our common task is to let ourselves be surprised by the grace of Christ so that he could satisfy the longing of the human heart for God.
Any anthropology, that is, science about human being, without reference to God or Christ, is a destructive lie, because in this situation every man can make himself a norm of law, and sooner or later it will lead him to aggression, social hatred or self-annihilation – he explained. Today our courageous faith in God is needed than ever, so that Christ would appear in us as a salvation gift for the world. Archbishop Depo repeated the words of Blessed John Paul II and made these words his: ‘Częstochowa is a good town’.
In the spirit of humility, the new Metropolitan of Częstochowa asked all the faithful for their prayer to Merciful God, so that God’s and human matters would be fulfilled in his pastoral ministry. The faithful responded with loud applause.
Straight from heart
At the end of the solemn ingress Archbishop Józef Kowalczyk addressed his words of thank to Archbishop Stanisław Nowak for 27 years of his ministry in the Church. He also entrusted the new Metropolitan of Częstochowa, whom Benedict XVI gave the pastoral and administrative responsibility for the archdiocese of Mary, to the prayer of the faithful; whereas Archbishop Józef Michalik thanked Archbishop Nowak on behalf of the whole Polish Episcopate for the testimony of faith, naming him a fervent and faithful servant to Mary. He noted that the archdiocese of Częstochowa is a very important reference point for the Church in Poland through a great school of Mary. In the opinion of the representative of the Polish Episcopal Conference, Częstochowa will have a very important role to play, because the resentment to the Church and anticlericalism are taking on validity in the country. Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski wished the new Metropolitan to proclaim Mary’s glory and become the blessing for this area. The words of thank and wishes were said also by the representatives of authorities. An occasional letter from President of the polish Republic Bronisław Komorowski was read as well.
On Mary’s road
– I am glad that more and more convents are looking for their place near Jasna Góra and that the Church of Częstochowa is getting rich in them, as a special treasure of vocations and consecrations – Archbishop Depo said in the cathedral basilica during the ingress, in reference to the Day of Consecrated life celebrated on 2 February. And in the evening a large group of monks and nuns were waiting for their Metropolitan near the Jasna Góra Gate, holding lighted candles, in order to lead him in a procession starting from the monument of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, to the Image of God’s Mother in the Chapel of the Miraculous Picture; the procession was led by Prior Father. And it was at the time of Jasna Góra Appeal Prayer. Archbishop Depo renewed the heritage of his whole entrustment in his prayerful reflection. Mentioning John Paul II clasping Jesus’ cross in his hands on his last Good Friday (in 2005) and seeing faces brightened with candles’ light in the Miraculous Chapel, he expressed his desire: ‘Let the light of hope never stop shining in the Chapel of Jasna Góra’. In his ingress picture Archbishop wrote: ‘Mary, Queen of Poland, lead us!’ The celebration of the ingress was recorded by many Polish general and local media. The team of the Television ‘Trwam’ arrived with Father Dr. Tadeusz Rydzyk CSsR and were broadcasting this whole event from Częstochowa to whole Poland and the world.