The second plenary session of the Synod on synodality, the new Presidium of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, the Year of Prayer in preparation for the Jubilee 2025 – these are the most important events in 2024 in the Church in Poland and in the world, as discussed by the Spokesman of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Fr. Leszek Gęsiak SJ.
The Spokesman of the Polish Episcopate recalled that the second Roman session of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission” will take place in October this year. “The first Roman session was held in October 2023, after which a report entitled +A Synodal Church in Mission+ was published. During these months, the Church in Poland at its various levels is undertaking a reflection on this document, the conclusions of which will be sent by the Polish Episcopate to the Secretariat of the Synod in March this year. It is therefore an intensive time of discernment, which should be put to good use in dioceses and communities. The point is to truly engage in building the synodal dimension of the Church” – the Spokesman for the Polish Bishops’ Conference noted.
Fr. Gęsiak stressed that the reports sent by the Bishops’ Conferences will serve as the basis for the Secretariat of the Synod to develop the Instrumentum Laboris for the October session. On the other hand, the final document from this year’s Rome synodal session will be of help to Pope Francis in drafting the post-synodal apostolic exhortation.
The Spokesman of the Polish Episcopate pointed out that the preparation for the second Roman session of the Synod will be accompanied by changes for the Church in Poland at the highest levels of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. “In March, the term of Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki as president of the Polish Bishops’ Conference and Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski as his deputy will come to an end. In June, Bishop Artur G. Mizinski’s term of office as Secretary General of the PBC will end. This means that in the first half of the year the entire presidium of the Polish Bishops’ Conference will change” – Fr. Gęsiak noted.
He added that these changes should be accompanied by prayer for the shepherds and the Church in Poland, especially since the year 2024 has been proclaimed by the Pope as the Year of Prayer in preparation for the Jubilee 2025. “In Rome, intensive preparations are already underway for the Holy Year 2025, for which more than 32 million pilgrims are expected in the Eternal City. The preparation for a fruitful experience of the Jubilee, which is always a time of grace for the Church and the faithful, is to be the preceding Year of Prayer that we are currently observing” – Fr. Gęsiak stressed. He added that the Pope had encouraged the faithful to make the „Our Father” prayer a programme of life.
Among other events that will mark the life of the Church in Poland this year will be the continuation of the peregrination of the relics of the Blessed Ulma Family through Polish dioceses. “The visitation of successive parishes by the relics of the blessed spouses Józef and Wiktoria and their seven children enjoys great interest on the part of the faithful, who entrust their own families, with their joys and problems, to this blessed Polish Family. Each arrival of the relics of the Ulmas in a parish is a time of grace, while their beatification and the peregrination of their relics are part of the contemporary social context in which the family is depreciated and human life deprived of its value” – noted the Spokesman of the Polish Episcopate.
He also recalled that this year, for the first time, we will celebrate the commemoration of the Blessed Ulma Family on 7 July, the day when Wiktoria and Józef were married.
The Spokesman also pointed out that the year 2024 is, by the decision of the Sejm, not only the Year of the Ulma Family, but also the Year of Archbishop Antoni Baraniak, the Metropolitan of Poznań and a steadfast bishop of the communist period. “On 1 January we celebrated the 120th anniversary of his birth. As the President of the Polish Episcopate said during the Mass on that occasion in his home parish in Mchy, +the kind of people Poland needs today+. People +who, aware of their baptismal promises, are ready to offer everything – not excluding their lives – for the Church and the Homeland+” – he said.
The Spokesman of the Polish Episcopate noted that this year also marks the 900th anniversary of the christianisation of Western Pomerania by St. Otto of Bamberg. The main celebrations will take place in the Archdiocese of Szczecin-Kamień. “In connection with this jubilee, the summer Plenary Assembly of the Polish Bishops’ Conference will be held in Szczecin, 10-12 June” – informed Fr. Gęsiak.
Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference