The annual bishops’ retreat concluded on Friday, November 24, with Mass celebrated in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image. The Primate of Poland, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, presided over the solemn Eucharist. The Mass was offered for deceased cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and bishop nominees.

The retreat, which began on Tuesday, November 21, was attended by cardinals, archbishops, and bishops from all over Poland. Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, presided over the Mass at the beginning of the retreat.

Prof. Henryk Pietras SJ, patrologist and Byzantinologist, lecturer at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and Collegium Bobolanum in Warsaw, was a preacher for this year’s retreat. On the four days of the retreat, Fr. Pietras delivered eight conferences on the responsibility of shepherds.

In thanking Fr. Pietras, the President of the Episcopate noted that „it is often difficult for us to see that the world is the temple of God. In other words, the sacred is united with the profane.” He noted that both the faithful and the bishops are inclined to view sacred reality as enclosing itself in the temple and secular reality as having nothing to do with the sacred.

„Thank you for these remarks, which show that the thought of the Church Fathers is not that distant from our times, that it is very much a part of the entire Christian tradition, and that people do not, in essence, jump over themselves too much, even if technology changes, times and circumstances change. We all face the same dilemma: between the pagan and Christian ways,” noted the President of the Bishops’ Conference.

Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Primate of Poland, presided over the Mass, concluding the retreat on Friday, November 24, in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image. The Eucharist was offered for deceased cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and bishop nominees.

At the beginning of the Mass, the Primate of Poland referred to the Mass readings. „We will hear in today’s readings that Judas cleansed and rededicated the Jerusalem temple, and after the death of his soldiers, he requested a prayer in that place, the place Jesus called a house of prayer. For he believed that the dead would rise again,” he said.

„We read in the Book of Maccabees that he did beautifully and nobly, for he thought about the resurrection. For if he was not convinced that those slain would rise from the dead, then praying for the dead would be something unnecessary and ridiculous. Believing in a reward for the pious who have passed away was a holy thought. Guided by this holy and pious thought, today we want to ask in prayer and this Eucharist for our deceased confreres: cardinals, archbishops, and bishops,” Archbishop Wojciech Polak said.

Press Office of the Polish Bishops Conference

Translated by Sr. Amata Nowaszewska / Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference