We are at the very heart of his teaching in the encyclical Dives in Misericordia and the exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia. It is a grand teaching. And down-to-earth! – said Cardinal Grzegorz Ryś, Metropolitan of Łódź, in his homily at the Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica on the 45th anniversary of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla’s election to the See of Peter.

In his homily, Cardinal Ryś pointed out that John Paul II was a pope of mercy and reconciliation, a pope of love for his enemies, a pope who forgave his would-be murderer and visited him in prison, a pope who begged forgiveness for all the sins committed by Christians throughout the two millennia of their history.

The Metropolitan of Łódź stressed that in the encyclical Dives in Misericordia and the exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, „we are at the very heart of his teaching.” „It is a grand teaching. And down-to-earth! Showing not only the necessity of reconciliation but also its key rules,” he said.

„Will our presence with God today, here in the company of St. John Paul II, trigger in us a desire and readiness for reconciliation? Will we – declaring our piety – be stuck in all our divisions, war, lack of forgiveness, aggression, hate, enmity, and polarization?” Cardinal Ryś asked.

At the end of his homily, Cardinal Ryś acknowledged the need to start the celebration by looking around, „not with our own eyes, but with Jesus’ eyes. To see our sister and brother where I saw an enemy only a moment ago. To extend a hand. To enter into dialogue. To die for oneself. With faith in the impossible. With faith in the message of John Paul II,” he stressed.

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, presided over the Eucharist in the Vatican Basilica. The Mass was concelebrated by notable figures, including Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod on Synodality, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, Papal Almoner, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, former Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Gintaras Grušas, President of the CCEE. The Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife were also at the Mass.

After the Mass, the concelebrants and the Presidential Couple walked to the tomb of St. John Paul II for a moment of silent prayer and the laying of flowers.

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