If I genuinely wish to honor the crucified and risen Lord, I must develop the attitude of faithfulness to good, even when it comes at a high cost,” said Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki, President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, on Thursday, October 19, during morning Mass at the tomb of St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
„On the patronal day of Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko, we pray for the intentions of our Home Country, for its unification of spirit,” the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference said at the start of Mass at the tomb of St. John Paul II at the Vatican.
In his homily, he invoked biblical figures of martyrs. „Honoring the martyrs of a just cause, such as Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko – the day’s patron saint, is a good thing. This act of honoring testifies that the defeat of good is only temporary and that in the end, good always triumphs,” Archbishop Gądecki said. He mentioned, however, referring to the Gospel, that sometimes building monuments can be hypocritical.
„In order not to become today’s hypocrite, it is necessary that we do not overshadow God. Woe to us if, with our behavior or words, we obscure the true Face of the Lord God,” the President of the Episcopate said. As he added, this does not apply only to people who influence the worldview of entire generations but to every person – parents or teachers. „Woe to us if we form in others attitudes incompatible with God’s law and the principles of love of God and neighbor. If I genuinely wish to honor the crucified and risen Lord, I must develop the attitude of faithfulness to good, even when it comes at a high cost,” he said.
Referring to St. John Paul II’s attitude and recalling the May 13, 1981 attempt on his life, he stressed that the Pope became, in a sense, a martyr for our times. „At the time, hatred tried to destroy the voice of merciful love with which the Pope spoke to the world,” he said. „Thanks to God’s providence, this assassination failed. The Holy Father survived to continue proclaiming the Good News,” he added.
He stressed that the program of John Paul II’s pontificate included „moving modern societies out of the realm of Dionysian values, such as the worship of matter, chaos, self-empowerment, hatred, violence, abuse, sexuality, revenge, and bringing them into the plane of Apollonian values, such as spirit, truth, goodness, higher love, beauty, creativity, service to others, the creation of a familial, universal personal community, law and harmony, and finally Divine Mercy, the worship of which was denied before John Paul II. It has now taken over the whole world and captured the very heart of Christianity,” Archbishop Gądecki emphasized that John Paul II’s message was not only for the people of the Church but for the whole world, for modern cultures.
Around 90 priests gathered at the tomb of St. John Paul II in the St. Sebastian Chapel of the Vatican Basilica for a Mass, which was presided over by Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, the Metropolitan of Poznań and the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. Archbishop Gądecki also delivered the homily during the Mass. Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner; Cardinal Grzegorz Ryś, Metropolitan of Łódź; Archbishop Zbigniew Stankiewicz, Metropolitan of Riga; Archbishop Adrian Galbas, Metropolitan of Katowice; Bishop Dariusz Kałuża, Bishop of the Diocese of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea; Bishop Alexander Jazłowiecki, Auxiliary Bishop of Kyiv; and Bishop Radosław Zmitrowicz, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Kamieniec, all participated in the concelebration.
Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference
Translated by Sr. Amata Nowaszewska / Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference