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POLAND - POLSKA

Pope Saint John Paul II was a pilgrim to his homeland 9 times: in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1991 twice, the 2nd time for World Youth Day Częstochowa, 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2002. Papa Benedict XVI was a pilgrim to Poland in 2006, on his second apostolic journey (his first was to his homeland of Germany for WYD 2005). WYD 2016 will be in Kraków, Papa Woytyla's home diocese & the home of the Divine Mercy Shrine.

There are Totus2us recordings on Jasna Gora, Częstochowa & the Divine Mercy Shrine in Kraków-Łagiewniki and on the Polish saints Maria Faustina Kowalska (Apostle of Divine Mercy & the 1st saint of the new millennium, canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday 2000) and Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate Maximilian Maria Kolbe (who died a martyr of love in Auschwitz).

So many Poles have generously given their response to a Totus2us podcast (a great witness to the wonderful faith among Poland's young people), they are shown here alphabetically by Christian name: beginning with A - K and L - Z - wiele dzięki wszystkim    ♥

To download the free mp3 Totus2us audio recordings, right / double click on the play buttons.
Aby pobrać darmowe mp3 Totus2us nagrania audio, prawy / podwójne kliknięcie na przycisk odtwarzania.

Act of Consecration to the Mother of God

John Paul II - Jasna Gora, 4th June 1979
- in English, French, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Great Mother of God made man, Most Holy Virgin,
Our Lady of Jasna Gora..."

With these words the Polish Bishops addressed you so many times at Jasna Gora, bearing in their hearts the experiences and the sufferings, the joy and the sorrow, and, above all, the faith, hope and charity of their fellow-countrymen.

May I be permitted today to begin with the same words the new act of consecration to Our Lady of Jasna Gora. This new act springs from that same faith, hope and charity, and from the tradition of our people shared by me for so many years. It springs at the same time from the new duties that, thanks to you, Mary, have been entrusted to me, an unworthy man and also your adoptive son.

How meaningful for me always have been the words that your Son, born from you, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of man, spoke from the height of the Cross, pointing out John, apostle and evangelist: "Woman, behold, your son!" (Jn 19:26). In these words I always found the place for every human being and the place for myself.

By the inscrutable designs of Divine Providence I am today present here at Jasna Gora, in my earthly homeland, Poland, and I wish first of all to confirm the acts of consecration and of trust that at various times—"in many and various ways" were pronounced by the Cardinal Primate and the Polish Episcopate. In a very special way I wish to confirm and renew the act of consecration pronounced at Jasna Gora on 3 May 1966, on the occasion of the Millennium of Poland. With this act the Polish Bishops wished, by giving themselves to you, Mother of God, "in your maternal slavery of love", to serve the great cause of the freedom of the Church not only in their own homeland but in the whole world. Some years later, on 7 June 1976, they consecrated to you all of humanity, all the nations and peoples of the modern world, and their brothers and sisters who are close to them by faith, by language and by the destinies they share in history, extending this consecration to the furthest limits of love as is demanded by your heart, the heart of a Mother who embraces each and every person, always and everywhere.

Today I come to Jasna Gora as its first pilgrim Pope, and I wish to renew the entire heritage of trust, of consecration and of hope that has been accumulated here with such magnanimity by my Brothers in the Episcopate and my fellow-countrymen.

Therefore, I entrust to you, Mother of the Church, all the problems of this Church, the whole of her mission and of her service, while the second millennium of the history of Christianity on earth is about to draw to a close.

Spouse of the Holy Spirit and Seat of Wisdom, it is to your intercession that we owe the magnificent vision and the programme of renewal of the Church in our age that found expression in the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. Grant that we may make this vision and programme the object of our activity, our service, our teaching, our pastoral care, our apostolate—in the same truth, simplicity and fortitude with which the Holy Spirit has made them known through our humble service. Grant that the whole Church may be reborn by drawing from this new fount of the knowledge of her nature and mission, and not from other foreign or poisoned "cisterns".

Help us in the great endeavour that we are carrying out to meet in a more and more mature way our brothers in faith, with whom so many things unite us, although there is still something dividing us. Through all the means of knowledge, of mutual respect, of love, of shared collaboration in various fields, may we be able to rediscover gradually the divine plan for the unity into which we should enter and bring everybody in, in order that the one fold of Christ may recognize and live its unity on earth. Mother of unity, teach us constantly the ways that lead to unity.

Allow us in the future to go out to meet all human beings and all peoples that are seeking God and wishing to serve him on the way of different religions. Help us all to proclaim Christ and reveal "the power of God and the Wisdom of God" (1 Cor 1:24) hidden in his Cross. You were the first to reveal him at Bethlehem, not only to the simple faithful shepherds but also to the wise men from distant lands.

Mother of Good Counsel, show us always how we are to serve the individual and humanity in every nation, how we are to lead them along the ways of salvation. How we are to protect justice and peace in a world continually threatened on various sides. How greatly I desire on the occasion of our meeting today to entrust to you all the difficult problems of the societies, systems and states — problems that cannot be solved with hatred, war and self-destruction but only by peace, justice and respect for the rights of people and of nations.

Mother of the Church, grant that the Church may enjoy freedom and peace in fulfilling her saving mission and that to this end she may become mature with a new maturity of faith and inner unity. Help us to overcome opposition and difficulties. Help us to rediscover all the simplicity and dignity of the Christian vocation. Grant that there may be no lack of "labourers in the Lord's vineyard". Sanctify families. Watch over the souls of the young and the hearts of the children. Help us to overcome the great moral threats against the fundamental spheres of life and love. Obtain for us the grace to be continually renewed through all the beauty of witness given to the Cross and Resurrection of your Son.

How many problems, Mother, should I not present to you by name in this meeting! I entrust them all to you, because you know them best and understand them.

I entrust them to you in the place of the great consecration, from which one has a view not only of Poland but of the whole Church in the dimensions of countries and continents — the whole Church in your maternal heart.

I who am the first servant of the Church offer the whole Church to you and entrust it to you here with immense confidence, Mother. Amen.

Journey to Poland, 31st World Youth Day

Catechesis by Pope Francis in the Jubilee of Mercy
General Audience, Wednesday 3 August 2016, Paul VI Audience Hall, Vatican - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today I should like to reflect briefly on the Apostolic Journey to Poland that I made in recent days.

The occasion for the Journey was World Youth Day, 25 years after the historic Day celebrated in Chęstochowa shortly after the fall of the “Iron Curtain”. In these 25 years Poland has changed, Europe has changed and the world has changed, and this WYD has become a prophetic sign for Poland, for Europe and for the world. The new generation of young people, the heirs and successors continuing the pilgrimage begun by St John Paul II, have given a response to today’s challenge, they have given the sign of hope, and this sign is called fraternity. Because, precisely in this world at war, fraternity is needed, closeness is needed, dialogue is needed, friendship is needed. This is the sign of hope: when there is fraternity.

Let us begin precisely with the young people, who were the primary reason for the Journey. Once again they have answered the call: they came from all over the world — some of them are even here! [indicating pilgrims in the Hall]. A celebration of colours, of different faces, of languages, of diverse histories. I don’t know how they do it: they speak different languages, but they manage to understand one another! Why? Because they have this willingness to go together, to build bridges, of fraternity. They also came with their wounds, with their questions, but above all with the joy of encountering one another; and once again they formed a mosaic of fraternity. One can speak of a mosaic of fraternity. An emblematic image of World Youth Day is the expanse of multicoloured flags waved by the young people: in effect, at WYD the flags of the nations become more beautiful, as though “they are purified”, and even the flags of nations at war with each other wave near each other. This is beautiful! Here too there are their flags... let them be seen!

In this way, in this great Jubilee meeting of theirs, the young people of the world heard the Message of Mercy, in order to carry it everywhere in spiritual and corporal works. I thank all the young people who came to Krakow! And I thank those who joined us from every part of the Earth! Because in so many countries, small World Youth Days were held in conjunction with the one in Krakow. May the gift that you have received become a daily response to the Lord’s call. A recollection full of affection goes to Susanna, the girl from this Diocese of Rome, who died right after participating in WYD, in Vienna. May the Lord, who has certainly welcomed her into Heaven, comfort her family and friends.

During this Journey I also visited the Shrine of Chęstochowa. Before the icon of Our Lady, I received the gift of the gaze of the Mother who, in a particular way, is the Mother of the people of Poland, of that noble nation that has suffered so much, and with the strength of faith and her maternal hand, has always raised itself again. I greeted several Poles here [in the Hall]. You are good, you are good people!

There, under that gaze, one understands the spiritual sense of the journey of this people, whose history is linked indissolubly to the Cross of Christ. There one touches by hand the faith of the holy faithful People of God, who safeguards hope through trials; and also safeguards the wisdom which is a balance between tradition and innovation, between memory and future. Poland today reminds all of Europe that there can be no future for the continent without its founding values, which in their turn have the Christian vision of mankind at the centre. Among these values is mercy, of which two great children of Poland’s soil were special apostles: St Faustina Kowalska and St John Paul II.

Lastly, this Journey also had the horizon of the world, a world called to respond to the challenge of a “piecemeal” war that is threatening it. Here the profound silence of my visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau was more eloquent than any words. In that silence I listened, I felt, the presence of all the souls that passed by there; I felt the compassion, the mercy of God, that some holy souls were able to take even into that abyss. In that deep silence I prayed for all the victims of violence and of war. And there, in that place, I understood more than ever before the value of remembrance, not only as the recollection of past events, but as monition and responsibility for today and tomorrow, so that the seeds of hatred and of violence do not take root in the furrows of history. Thus in recalling the wars and the many wounds, so much pain that was experienced, there are also many of today’s men and women who are suffering due to war, so many of our brothers and sisters. Seeing that cruelty, in that concentration camp, I immediately thought of the cruelty that is similar today: not as concentrated as in that place, but everywhere throughout the world; this world that is ill with cruelty, with pain, with war, with hatred, with sadness. And for this reason I continually ask you to pray: that the Lord give us peace!

For all this I thank the Lord and the Virgin Mary. And once again I express my gratitude to the President of Poland and to the other Authorities, to the Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow and to the entire Polish Episcopate, and to all those who, in a thousand ways, made this event possible, who offered a sign of fraternity and of peace to Poland, to Europe and to the world. I would also like to thank the young volunteers, who worked for over a year to prepare for this event; and also the media, those who work in the media: thank you very much for enabling this Day to be seen throughout the world. And I cannot forget Anna Maria Jacobini, an Italian journalist who lost her life there unexpectedly. Let us also pray for her: she passed away carrying out her service. Thank you!

Saluti:

Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française. Les Journées Mondiales de la Jeunesse ont été un signe prophétique de fraternité pour le monde entier. Prions avec persévérance pour que la miséricorde du Christ touche et convertisse les cœurs afin que nos sociétés vivent dans la solidarité et connaissent la paix. Que Dieu vous bénisse.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Ireland, Sweden, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Aruba, Canada and the United States of America. In a special way, I greet the many groups of young people returning from our celebration of World Youth Day. With prayerful good wishes that the present Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an die Pilger und Besucher deutscher Sprache. In der Sommerzeit wollen wir unsere menschlichen Beziehungen nicht vernachlässigen und ebenso den Dialog mit Gott im Gebet nicht unterlassen. Vergessen wir auch nicht, im Urlaub manche Werke der Barmherzigkeit zu tun! Der Heilige Geist begleite euch auf euren Wegen!

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos provenientes de España y Latinoamérica. Saben hacer barullo, ¡muy bien! Agradezcamos al Señor y a la Virgen María este don de gracia, también a todos lo que lo han hecho posible, al Presidente de Polonia, a las Autoridades, al Cardenal Arzobispo de Cracovia y al episcopado polaco. Que Dios los bendiga.

Saúdo cordialmente os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, em particular os fiéis do Rio de Janeiro e as Irmãs de Santa Marcelina, desejando-vos o dom daquele olhar de Nossa Senhora que tive pousado sobre mim em Częstochowa: Ela conforta todos aqueles que estão na provação e mantém aberto o horizonte da esperança. Enquanto vos entrego, a vós e às vossas famílias à sua proteção, invoco sobre todos a Bênção de Deus.

* * *


Message of the Holy Father on the occasion of the Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro.

I would now like to address a warm greeting to the people of Brazil, in particular to the city of Rio de Janeiro, which is hosting the athletes and fans from throughout the world for the occasion of the Olympiad. In a world which thirsts for peace, tolerance and reconciliation, I hope that the spirit of the Olympic Games may inspire all, participants and spectators, to fight “the good fight” and to finish the race together (cf. 2 Tim 4:7-8), hoping to obtain as a prize not a medal but something far more precious: the achievement of a civilization in which solidarity reigns, based on the recognition that we are all members of a single human family, independent of differences in culture, skin colour or religion. For the Brazilian people who, with characteristic joy and hospitality, have organized the Celebration of Sports, I hope that this may be an opportunity to overcome difficult times and to give your all to “work as a team” in order to build a safer and more just country, betting on a future full of hope and joy. May God bless you all!

* * *

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً بأعضاء حركة "ܠܐ ܛܕܚܐܠ" يرافقهم المطران الياس سليمان، رئيس محكمة الاستئناف المارونيّة. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء،أمام يسوع لا يمكننا أن نبقى مكتوفي الأيدي وفي الانتظار، لا تخافوا من أن تقولوا له "نعم" باندفاع القلب وتجيبوا بسخاء وتتبعوه! ليبارككُم الرب!


Serdecznie witam pielgrzymów z Polski. Bracia i siostry, za waszym pośrednictwem dziękuję narodowi polskiemu i Kościołowi w Polsce za to wielkie święto młodości, jakie mogliśmy przeżywać w Krakowie. Po raz kolejny wyrażam moją wdzięczność Prezydentowi Polski, innym przedstawicielom władz, kardynałowi arcybiskupowi Krakowa i całemu Episkopatowi Polski oraz tym wszystkim, którzy na różne sposoby przygotowali i sprawili, że stało się możliwe to wydarzenie, które dało Polsce, Europie i światu znak żywej wiary, znak braterstwa i pokoju. Proszę Boga, aby ci młodzi ludzie, których spotkałem w Krakowie, zanieśli w swoich sercach iskrę Jego miłosierdzia całemu światu. Bogu Ojcu zawierzam duszę Kardynała Macharskiego, którego dane mi było nawiedzić przed jego śmiercią, która nastąpiła wczoraj! Niech Bóg wam błogosławi!

* * *

Cari fedeli di lingua italiana, benvenuti! Sono lieto di accogliere i giovani musicisti e ballerini del Festival del Folklore di Cori; i pellegrini del Cammino di San Benedetto e San Francesco della Diocesi di Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino e i membri del Centro di Solidarietà di Pesaro. La visita alle tombe degli Apostoli Pietro e Paolo in occasione del Giubileo della Misericordia alimenti in tutti la fede e l’impegno in concrete opere di carità.

I address a special greeting to young people, to the sick and to newlyweds. Tomorrow we shall celebrate the memory of St John Vianney, patron saint of priests, particularly of parish priests. May his deep humility be an example to you, dear young people, to live life as a gift from God; may his trusting abandonment in Christ the Saviour sustain you, dear sick people, in your hour of suffering; and may his Christian witness give you courage, dear newlyweds, to profess your faith without shame.

Tomorrow I shall go to the Papal Basilica of St Mary of the Angels, at the Portiuncula, on the eighth centenary of the “Pardon of Assisi”, which occurred yesterday. It will be a very simple pilgrimage but highly significant in this Holy Year of Mercy. I ask you all to accompany me with your prayers, invoking the light and the strength of the Holy Spirit and the heavenly intercession of St Francis."

Papa Benedict XVI's words about his Apostolic Journey to Poland
- in Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, I would like to review with you the stages of the Apostolic Journey that I was able to make to Poland in the past few days. I thank the Polish Bishops and particularly the Metropolitan Archbishops of Warsaw and Krakow for their enthusiasm and care in preparing for this Visit. I renew the expression of my gratitude to the President of the Republic and to the different Authorities of the Country, as well as to all those who worked together for the success of this event. Above all, I want to say a big "thank you" to the Catholics and to the entire Polish People; I felt them clustered round me in an embrace full of human and spiritual warmth. And many of you saw me on television. It was a true expression of catholicity, of the Church's love expressed in love for the Successor of Peter.

After my arrival at Warsaw Airport, the Cathedral of this important metropolis was the venue of my first Meeting, reserved for priests, on the very day of the 50th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of Cardinal Józef Glemp, the Pastor of that Archdiocese. Thus, my pilgrimage began under the banner of the priesthood. It continued with a testimony of ecumenical concern in the Lutheran Church of the Most Holy Trinity. On this occasion, united with representatives of the different Churches and Ecclesial Communities living in Poland, I reasserted my firm determination to consider as a priority of my ministry the commitment to the reconstitution of full and visible unity among Christians. Next came the Solemn Eucharist in Pi³sudski Square in the centre of Warsaw that was filled to overflowing. This place, where we solemnly and joyfully celebrated the Eucharist, has already acquired symbolic value as the site of historical events such as the Holy Masses celebrated by John Paul II, the funeral of the Cardinal Primate Stefan Wyszynski and, following my venerable Predecessor's death, it was packed at the celebrations of prayers for the repose of his soul.

A visit to the shrines that marked the life of the priest and Bishop Karol Wojtyla could not have been omitted from my itinerary: Czestochowa, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and Divine Mercy. I will not be able to forget my stop at the famous Marian Shrine of Jasna Góra. On that "Bright Mount", the heart of the Polish Nation, as in a spiritual Upper Room, vast numbers of the faithful, especially men and women religious, seminarians and representatives of the Ecclesial Movements, gathered round the Successor of Peter to listen, together with me, to Mary. Drawing inspiration from the marvellous Marian meditation that John Paul II presented to the Church in the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater, I wanted to repropose faith as a fundamental attitude of the spirit, not merely something intellectual or sentimental; true faith involves the entire person: thoughts, affections, intentions, relations, bodiliness, activity and daily work. Then, visiting the wonderful Shrine of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, not far from Krakow, I asked the Sorrowful Virgin to sustain the faith of the Ecclesial Community in times of hardship and trial. My next stop, at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Wagiewniki, gave me the opportunity to stress that Divine Mercy alone illumines the mystery of man. It was here at the neighbouring convent that Sr Faustina Kowalska, contemplating the shining wounds of the Risen Christ, received a message of trust for humanity which John Paul II echoed and interpreted and which really is a central message precisely for our time: Mercy as God's power, as a divine barrier against the evil of the world.

I wanted to visit other symbolic "shrines": I am referring to Wadowice, a place that became famous because it was here that Karol Wojty³a was born and baptized. Visiting it gave me an opportunity to thank the Lord for the gift of this unflagging servant of the Gospel. The roots of his vigorous faith, his humanity, so sensitive and open, his love for beauty and truth, his devotion to Our Lady, his love for the Church and especially his vocation to holiness are found in this small town where he received his first education and formation. In Krakow, Wawel Cathedral is another place that was dear to John Paul II. It is a symbolic place for the Polish Nation: it was here in the cathedral crypt that Karol Wojtyla celebrated his First Mass.

Another beautiful experience was my Meeting with young people that took place in Krakow's large Blonie Park. I symbolically consigned the "Flame of Mercy" to the crowds of young people who had come, so that they might be heralds of Love and Divine Mercy in the world. With them, I meditated on the Gospel parable of the house built upon rock (cf. Mt 7: 24-27) that was also read today at the beginning of this Audience. I also paused to reflect on the Word of God on Sunday morning, the Solemnity of the Ascension, during the Celebration to conclude my Visit. It was a liturgical meeting enlivened by an extraordinary participation of the faithful in the same Park where the youth meeting had taken place the previous evening. I made the most of the occasion to renew among the Polish People the wonderful proclamation of the Christian truth about man, created and redeemed in Christ; that truth which John Paul II proclaimed vigorously so many times, to spur everyone to be strong in faith, hope and love. Stand firm in your faith! This was the message I left with the children of beloved Poland, encouraging them to persevere in faithfulness to Christ and to the Church, so that Europe and the world will not lack the contribution of their Gospel witness. All Christians must feel committed to bearing this witness in order to prevent humanity of the third millennium from once again experiencing horrors similar to those tragically called to mind by the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

It was precisely in that place, sadly famous throughout the world, that I chose to stop before returning to Rome. Hitler had more than 6 million Jews exterminated in the camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau and in other similar camps. About 150,000 Poles and tens of thousands of men and women of other nationalities died at Auschwitz-Birkenau. In the face of the horror of Auschwitz there is no other response than the Cross of Christ: Love descended to the very depths of the abyss of evil to save man in his core, where human freedom can rebel against God. May contemporary humanity never forget Auschwitz or the other "death factories" where the Nazi regime attempted to eliminate God in order to replace him! May it not succumb to the temptation of racial hatred which is at the root of the worst forms of anti-Semitism! May people recognize once again that God is the Father of all and calls us all, in Christ, to build a world of justice, truth and peace together! Let us ask this of the Lord through the intercession of Mary, whom today, as we end the month of May, we contemplate in her zealous and loving visit to Elizabeth, her elderly relative."

BXVI - General Audience, Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Blessed John Paul II's words about his last Apostolic Journey to Poland
in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. Today I return in thought to the 8th journey to my native land, which happily divine Providence allowed me to complete in the last few days.

I renew my expression of gratitude to the President of the Republic of Poland, to the Prime Minister, to the Polish civil and military authorities of every order and rank, as well as those of the city of Kraków, for ensuring that my visit went smoothly. I also want to extend cordial thanks to the Primate, Cardinal Józef Glemp, to the Archbishop of Kraków, Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, to the entire episcopate, to the priests, consecrated persons and everyone who prepared this important ecclesial event, and took part in it with faith and devotion.

Above all I want to send my warmest thanks to my dear countrymen, for welcoming me in such great numbers with overwhelming affection and intense participation. The visit involved only one diocese, but in spirit I embraced the whole of Poland which, hopefully, will continue its effort to build true social progress, without ever neglecting to safeguard its own Christian identity.

2. "God, rich in mercy" (Eph 2,4). These words constantly resounded during my Apostolic Pilgrimage. Indeed, the main purpose of my visit was to proclaim once again God, "rich in mercy", especially by consecrating the new Shrine of Divine Mercy at Łagiewniki. The new church will be a centre spreading through the world the fire of God's mercy, according to what the Lord wished to manifest to St Faustina Kowalska, Apostle of Divine Mercy.

"Jesus, I trust in you!". This is the simple prayer that Sr Faustina taught us, and which we can have on our lips at every moment of our lives. How often, as a worker, a student and then as a priest and bishop, in the difficult periods of the history of Poland, I also repeated this simple and profound aspiration and experience its efficacy and power.

Mercy is one of the most wonderful attributes of the Creator and of the Redeemer; the Church lives to bring humanity to this inexhaustible wellspring, of which she is depository and dispenser. This is why I wished to entrust my homeland, the Church and all humanity to the Divine Mercy.

3. God's merciful love opens the heart to concrete acts of charity for one's neighbour. This was true for Archbishop Zygmunt Szczesny Felinski, Fr Jan Beyzym, Sr Santia Szymkowiak and Fr Jan Balicki, whom I had the joy of beatifying during the Mass celebrated in Błonie Park in Kraków last Sunday.

I wanted to hold up to the Christian people these new Blesseds, so that their example and words might be a stimulus and encouragement to witness with deeds to the Lord's merciful love who conquers evil with good (cf. Rom 12, 21). Only in this way is it possible to build the hoped-for civilization of love, whose gentle force is in strident contrast with the "mystery of evil" that is present in the world. To us, disciples of Christ, is given the mission to proclaim and live the lofty mystery of Divine Mercy which regenerates the world, compelling us to love our brothers and sisters and even our enemies. These beati, together with the other saints, are brilliant examples of how the "creativity in charity", of which I spoke in my Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, brings us close to and puts us in solidarity with all who suffer (cf. n. 50), architects of a world renewed by love.

4. My pilgrimage then took me to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the shrine dedicated to the Passion of Jesus and to our Lady of Sorrows. I have been attached to that holy place since childhood. I often experienced there how the Mother of God, Our Lady of Grace, turns her merciful eyes to afflicted humanity, in need of her wisdom and help.

After Czestochowa, it is one of the better known and visited shrines of Poland to which the faithful come even from the countries nearby. After travelling the paths of the Way of the Cross and of the Compassion of the Mother of God, the pilgrims pause to pray before the ancient and miraculous image of Mary, our Advocate, who welcomes them with eyes filled with love. Beside her, one can perceive and understand the mysterious bond between the "suffering" (patì) Redeemer on Calvary and his "co-suffering" (compatì) Mother at the foot of the Cross. In this communion of love in suffering it is easy to discern the source of the power of intercession which the prayer of the Virgin Mary has for us, her children.

Let us ask Our Lady to kindle in our hearts the spark of the grace of God and to help us transmit to the world the fire of Divine Mercy. May Mary obtain for all people the gift of unity and peace: unity of faith, unity of spirit and of thought, unity of families; peace of hearts, peace of nations and of the world, while we wait for Christ to return in glory."

JPII - General Audience, Wednesday 21 August 2002

John Paul II's reflection on his 1999 pilgrimage to Poland
General Audience, Wednesday 23 June 1999 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. Today I would like to reflect again on the pilgrimage to Poland which I had the joy of making from the 5th to the 17th of this month. My seventh and longest Pastoral Visit to my country took place 20 years after my first journey from 2 to 10 June 1979. On the eve of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, I shared with the Church in Poland in the celebrations to mark the millennium of two events which are at the root of her history: the canonization of St Adalbert and the establishment of the country’s first metropolitan see: Gniezno, with its three suffragan Dioceses of Ko{l-lslash}obrzeg, Kraków and Wroc{l-lslash}aw. I was also able to conclude the nation's Second Plenary Synod and to proclaim a new saint, as well as numerous new blesseds, exemplary witnesses of God's love.

“God is love” was the theme of my apostolic journey, which became a great hymn of praise to the heavenly Father and to the wonderful works of his mercy. For this reason I never stop thanking him, the Lord of the world and of history, who once again allowed me to cross the land of my ancestors as a pilgrim of faith and hope, and in particular, as a pilgrim of his love.

I would like to express my gratitude once again to the President of the Republic and to the State authorities for their welcome and active support. My fraternal meeting with the Pastors of the beloved Church in Poland, whom I warmly thank for their great commitment and apostolic zeal, was also a great comfort to me. I extend my thanks to all who helped in any way to make my visit a success: I am thinking in particular of all who prayed and offered their own sufferings for this intention; I am also thinking of the young people, a large number of whom took part in every stage of my pilgrimage.

2. The overall theme of these days was the Gospel text of the Beatitudes, which shows us God's love in the unmistakeable features of Christ's face. What a joy it was for me, in St Adalbert's footsteps, to proclaim the eight Beatitudes, as I meditated on the history of my ancestors! My brief stops in Gda{l-nacute}sk, Pelplin and Elbl{l-aogonek}g in the Baltic region, where Adalbert was martyred, were dedicated to the memory of this great Bishop and martyr. The legacy of Adalbert has always been guarded by the Polish people and has borne wonderful fruits of witness throughout Poland's history.

In this regard I had the opportunity to visit cities which preserve an indelible memory of the destruction, mass executions and deportations of the Second World War. Only faith in God, who is love and mercy, made possible their material and moral resurgence. In Bydgoszcz, where Cardinal Wyszy{l-nacute}ski built the church dedicated to “The Holy Polish Brethren Martyrs”, I celebrated Mass for the martyrs, commemorating the “unknown soldiers” of God's cause and those who died in this century. In Toru{l-nacute} I beatified Fr Wincenty Frelichowski (1913-1945), who was a peacemaker in his pastoral ministry and later in the concentration camp and, until his death, bore witness to God's love among the typhus victims of the Dachau concentration camp. In Warsaw I beatified 108 martyrs, including Bishops, priests, religious and lay people, victims of the concentration camps during the Second World War.

In the capital I also beatified Edmund Bojanowski — an organizer of educational and charitable works and precursor of the Council’s teaching on the lay apostolate — and Sister Regina Protmann, who combined the contemplative life with caring for the sick and teaching children and young girls. In Stary S{l-aogonek}cz I canonized Sister Kinga, an outstanding 13th-century figure, a model of charity both as the wife of the Polish Prince Boleslaus and, after his death, as a Poor Clare nun.

These heroic witnesses of faith show that the “traditio” of God’s Word, heard and put into practice, has been handed down from Adalbert to this day, and should be courageously incarnated in today's society as it prepares to cross the threshold of the third millennium.

3. In Poland faith was nourished and greatly supported by devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Veneration of the divine Heart of Jesus had special prominence in this pilgrimage: in the background was the consecration of the human race to the Sacred Heart which my revered Predecessor Leo XIII performed for the first time exactly 100 years ago. Humanity needs to enter the new millennium with trust in God's merciful love. However, this will only be possible if we turn to Christ the Saviour, the inexhaustible source of life and holiness.

And then what can we say of my compatriots’ filial affection for their Queen, Mary most holy? In Liche{l-nacute} I blessed the large new shrine dedicated to her, and in some cities, including my birthplace, I crowned revered images of the Blessed Virgin. In Sandomierz I celebrated the Eucharist in honour of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I would also like to recall my prayer meetings in E{l-lslash}k, Zamo{l-sacute}{l-cacute}, Warsaw- Praga, {U-Lslash}owicz, Sosnowiec, Gliwice and in my native town of Wadowice, as well as my visit to the monastery in Wigry.

Before my return I knelt in front of the venerable icon of Our Lady of Cz{l-eogonek}stochowa at Jasna Góra: it was a moment of deep spiritual feeling. I renewed the entrustment of my life and my Petrine ministry to her, the “Holy Virgin who defends bright Cz{l-eogonek}stochowa” (cf. Mickiewicz); to her I consecrated the Church in Poland and throughout the world; to her I prayed for the precious gift of peace for all humanity and solidarity among peoples.

4. During my journey I had several occasions to thank God for the changes which have occurred in Poland over the last 20 years in the name of freedom and solidarity. I did this at Gda{l-nacute}sk, the city which symbolizes the Solidarno{l-sacute}{l-cacute} movement. I did it especially when I spoke to the Polish Parliament, where I recalled the peaceful struggles of the '80s and the revolution of '89. The moral principles of those struggles must continue to inspire political life, so that democracy will be based on strong ethical values: the family, human life, work, education, care of the weak. At the same time as elections were being held for the European Parliament, I prayed for the “old” continent, that it might continue to be a beacon of civilization and authentic progress, rediscovering its spiritual roots and making the very most of its peoples’ potential from the Urals to the Atlantic.

In addition, at the two meetings with the academic world, in Toru{l-nacute} and Warsaw, I was able to emphasize how relations between the Church and the world of science have improved, to the great advantage of both. Nor can I forget the prayer at Radzymin in memory of the war of 1920 and the “Miracle of the Vistula”.

At other events I raised my voice in defence of the weakest persons and groups: while the Church performs works of mercy, she encourages justice and solidarity after the example of saints like Queen Hedwig and Albert Chmielowski, models of sharing with the most needy. Progress cannot be made at the expense of the poor or of economically weaker groups, or at the expense of the natural environment.

5. There was also an opportunity to stress that the Church makes her contribution to the integral development of the nation first of all by the formation of consciences. The Church exists to evangelize, that is, to proclaim to all that “God is love” and to enable every person to meet him. The Second Plenary Synod renewed this commitment according to the Second Vatican Council and in the light of the signs of the times, calling all believers to generous co-responsibility.

Evangelization is not credible if as Christians we do not love one another according to the Lord's commandment. In Siedlce and Warsaw, in memory of the Blessed Martyrs of Podlasie, I prayed with the Greek-Catholic faithful that the divisions of the second millennium would be overcome. I also wanted to meet my brothers of other confessions, to strengthen the bonds of unity. At a shared ecumenical liturgy in Drohiczyn, this prayer involved the Orthodox, Lutherans and other non-Catholic Ecclesial Communities. The need for unity in the Church is felt by all: we must work for its full realization, ready to admit our faults and to forgive one another.

On the morning of the last day of my pilgrimage I was able to celebrate the Eucharist in Wawel Cathedral. Thus as I left my beloved city of Kraków, I could thank God for the millennium of that Archdiocese.

6. Dear brothers and sisters, let us praise the Lord together for these days of grace. I repeat with you today: Te Deum laudamus ...! Yes, we praise you O God, for the holy Church, founded on Christ the cornerstone, on the Apostles and martyrs, and which has spread to every corner of the earth. We especially praise you for the Church in Poland, rich in faith and works of charity.

We praise you, O Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of Poland! Uniquely involved in the mystery of the Incarnation, help your people to celebrate the Great Jubilee with faith, and come to the aid of everyone in difficulty who has recourse to you. Help each of us to choose the realities which do not pass away: faith, hope and charity. Help us, O Mother, to live charity, which is the greatest of them all, because “God is love”."

Blessed John Paul II's reflection on his 1997 pilgrimage to Poland
General Audience, Wednesday, 18 June 1997 - in English, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. I would like to begin today’s meeting by telling you about the recent pilgrimage to Poland which divine Providence gave me the opportunity to make. There were three principal reasons for this Pastoral Visit: the International Eucharistic Congress in Wroclaw, the 1,000th anniversary of St Adalbert’s martyrdom and the 600th anniversary of the foundation of the Jagiellonian University of Kraków. These events were the nucleus of the whole itinerary, which from 31 May to 10 June included Wroclaw, Legnica, Gorzów, Wielkopolski, Gniezno, Poznañ, Kalisz, Czêstochowa, Zakopane, LudŸmierz, Kraków, Dukla and Krosno, concentrating on three great cities: Wroclaw, the site of the 46th International Eucharistic Congress, Gniezno, a city linked with the death of St Adalbert, and Kraków, where the Jagiellonian University was founded.

2. The 46th International Eucharistic Congress in Wroclaw began on Trinity Sunday, 25 May, with the Eucharistic celebration presided at by my Legate, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State. A rich spiritual and liturgical programme filled the entire week, centring on the main theme: “For freedom Christ has set us free” (Gal 5:1). The Lord enabled me to take part in the conclusion of the work and so, on the last day of May, I was able to venerate Christ in the Eucharist, adoring him in the cathedral of Wroclaw together with people who had come from all over the world. That same day I took part in an ecumenical prayer service with representatives of the Churches and Ecclesial Communities. The next day, Sunday, 1 June, the Congress ended with a solemn Mass — statio orbis.

An extraordinary ecclesial experience, the International Eucharistic Congress brought together many theologians, priests, religious and lay people. It was certainly a time of deep reflection on the mystery of the Eucharist and gave Christians from Poland, Europe and other parts of the world an opportunity to spend much time in prayer, prayers which were led at times by the Cardinals and Bishops of different nations who had been invited for the occasion. The Congress held in Wroclaw was the 46th since the first, held in Lille, France, in 1881. In recent years the International Eucharistic Congresses have normally been held every four years, in the following order: Lourdes, France, 1981; Nairobi, Kenya, 1985; Seoul, Korea, 1989; Seville, Spain, 1993. The next one will be held in Rome, to mark the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

3. The millennium of St Adalbert, martyred in the year 997, was the second reason for my visit. He came from Bohemia and belonged to the princely Slavník family. Born in Libice in the territory of the present day Diocese of Hradec Králové, he became Bishop of Prague at a young age. At the end of last April, we solemnly celebrated Adalbert’s millennium in the Czech Republic, with the participation of many Bishops from countries linked with this saint’s life and work. St Adalbert came to Poland towards the end of his life, invited by King Boleslaw the Brave. He accepted the invitation to evangelize the pagan peoples who lived in the regions of the Baltic Sea. There he met his death, and after martyrdom his body was ransomed by King Boleslaw the Brave and taken to Gniezno which then became the centre of devotion to St Adalbert. An important meeting, not only religious but also political, took place near the relics of the holy martyr in the year 1000. Emperor Otto III and the Papal Legate both went to Gniezno for the occasion. Their meeting with King Boleslaw the Brave is known as the Gniezno Meeting, and it was precisely then, in Gniezno, that the first metropolitan see was established in what was then Poland. From the political standpoint, the Gniezno Meeting was an important event because it marked Poland's entry, under the Piasts, into a united Europe. At the recent commemoration of the millennium of St Adalbert’s death, we were once again linked with that historic event and with its particular importance for our continent. The Presidents of the countries connected with the tradition of St Adalbert came to Gniezno to remember him: from the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and Hungary. Once again I thank the Lord and all those who worked hard to arrange this important event.

4. The foundation of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków was the third reason for my visit. This first university in Poland was founded by King Casimir the Great in 1364. It was a Studium Generale, but not yet a full university since it lacked a faculty of theology. In 1397 Queen Hedwig and her husband Wladyslaw Jagiello did all that was required to establish the Theology Faculty. Thanks to the initiative taken by the founders of the Jagiellonian dynasty, a university with full rights came into being in Kraków, which very soon became an important centre of study, famous not only in Poland but throughout the Europe of that time.

For the city of Kraków and the university community 8 June was a great celebration: Queen Hedwig was canonized at last, after 600 years. On that occasion there was a meeting with representatives of the Polish universities, who not only took part in the solemn Eucharistic celebration but also in the academic convocation held at the tomb of St John of Kêty, in the Academy's Church of St Anne. For all those linked with the Alma Mater of Kraków, it was an unusually solemn moment.

On my last day in Poland another canonization took place, that of John of Dukla, a 15th-century Franciscan who was also connected with academic life at the University of Kraków. Although he was born in Dukla, he lived his life and served as a Franciscan in Lviv. I thank the Lord for allowing me to honour his memory at his birthplace, although his canonization took place in Krosno, in the Archdiocese of Przemyœl.

In addition to the two canonizations during my pilgrimage, I had the joy of proclaiming two blesseds on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 6 June, in Zakopane: Maria Bernardina Jabloñska, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Albertine Sisters, and Maria Karlowska, foundress of the Congregation of the Good Shepherd Sisters.

5. Dear brothers and sisters, as I address my grateful thoughts to the Lord, I would once again like to express my deep gratitude to everyone who in various ways contributed to preparing and conducting this pilgrimage to my homeland. I am grateful to the State and Church authorities, to the organizations that did all they could to make my journey peaceful and successful, as well as to every other institution involved in organizing it. I also thank the management and employees of radio and television, who enabled Poland and the whole world to share the excitement of those who were able to attend the events in person.

I express my deep joy at having been able, during my 11 day pilgrimage to my country, to join so many of my compatriots in singing the Te Deum to thank the Lord for the many blessings granted to Poland and the whole world over the last 1,000 years."