“We not only want to celebrate but also we are also intent on showing the deep relations that exist between the Catholic Church and Judaism,” said Bishop Rafał Markowski, chairman of the Committee for Dialogue with Judaism of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, during a meeting announcing the 25th jubilee celebration of the Day of Judaism in the Catholic Church in Poland. This year the day’s national celebrations will be held in Poznan.
The meeting, which took place at the Secretariat of the Polish Bishops’ Conference in Warsaw, was attended, among others. by Bishop Rafał Markowski, the Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich, and Prof. Jan Grosfeld, member of the Committee for Dialogue with Judaism. The conference was moderated by editor Marcin Przeciszewski, president of the Catholic Information Agency KAI.
Bishop Markowski stressed that the silver jubilee of the Day of Judaism in the Catholic Church in Poland encourages reflection on the reasons that led the Polish Bishops’ Conference to introduce this day 25 years ago and on what has been achieved during that time in the dialogue between Catholics and Jews. Speaking of the reasons, he pointed to the historical and spiritual ties between Christians and those who profess Judaism. “This is the whole history of salvation,” he said. He also stressed the importance of going back to our roots. “Returning to the sources is necessary if we want to keep the faith fresh,” he said.
He also noted that the celebration of the Day of Judaism, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and the Day of Islam are part of the ongoing synod to which Pope Francis invites not just Catholics but everyone. He stressed that the central celebration of the Day of Judaism is held in a different diocese each year, and this gives it additional value. “Dialogue is an ongoing process,” he said, summarizing 25 years of celebrations.
The chairman of the PBC’s Committee for Dialogue with Judaism also drew attention to the place of the anniversary celebrations of the Day of Judaism. As he said, it is no coincidence, because the current Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznan, Stanisław Gądecki, is the originator and initiator of this Day in the Catholic Church in Poland.
The Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, speaking about the jubilee celebrations of the Day of Judaism, stressed two challenges that he saw in the future of the dialogue between Christians and Jews: the need to deepen and broaden the dialogue, and cooperation in the social space.
Prof. Jan Grosfeld, meanwhile, summed up the 25 years of the celebrations of the Day of Judaism in the Catholic Church in Poland with these words: “little gives birth to much.” He stressed that the aim of the Day of Judaism is to change the mentality of people in the Church, “to give the Church the depth which allows her to avoid heresy” and to benefit from the richness of what is old and what is new. In his view, the Jewish roots are a safeguard for healthy faith. “There will be no fruit if there are no roots,” he said.
The 25th Day of Judaism in the Catholic Church in Poland will be celebrated on January 17th under the theme of “My thoughts are not your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8). The central part of the ceremonies will be held in Poznan, where a rich program of accompanying events, spread over a longer period of time, has also been planned. The main points of the celebrations will revolve around common prayers, biblical services, and meetings summing up the 25-year-long history of the Day of Judaism.
The celebrations of the Day of Judaism are organized by the PBC’s Committee for Dialogue with Judaism. Each year the Day is organized by a different Polish diocese. The Day of Judaism, established by the Polish Bishops’ Conference, is intended to help Catholics discover the Judaic roots of Christianity.
Translation: Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference