AND HE WENT AWAY, NOT SLAMMING THE DOOR
LIDIA DUDKIEWICZ, THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF 'NIEDZIELA'
Once, on the occasion of his birthday, asked about his plans for the future, he answered: ‘I would like to grow up and deserve holiness’. He was impressed by epitaph which the Dominicans gave to a mediaeval monk. He was not afraid of death, as he had fulfilled his life before his death./ He was not scared of dying/. Because he had known how to live beautifully./ And he went away from this world/ Not slamming the door’. Fr. Jan Góra – a crazy Dominican, charismatic, attracting the youth’s hearts and minds for Christ, demanding, modest, loving father – unexpectedly went away to eternity on 21 December 2015. This white monk, with a characteristic eagle-like nose, always reminded me of an eagle flying up the sky. After all, he said himself that he had always been attracted by the youth’s world of sounds with which he had contact every day in his home Prudnik, as he lived in neighbourhood of a music school. That world of sounds ‘gave him lots of inspiration, aroused his dreams in order to fly far away into the world and fly high up in the sky’ – he said. And ….he reached priesthood. He wrote on the picture of his first holy mass: ‘Show me your face, let me hear your voice; after all I live, speak and sing for you’. – I wanted to be in a dialogue with Love – he explained and he loved. He really wanted to belong to Christ.
In his priestly life he was, first of all, a father, although in the beginning he did not really want to be a father. Many years ago I had a occasion to hear that in the youth pastoral ministry at Jasna Góra Fr. Jan Góra told others about his attempts of making friendship with the youth at the beginning of his pastoral work. When he suggested a girl calling each other by names, he met with her definite refusal. Then he heard that he had many classmates at school, whereas she needed a father. Girls and boys forced the young monk to be their father. And he was taking on the role of a father under the influence of the mystery play of Karol Wojtyła entitled: ‘Radiation of fatherhood’. When he understood his spiritual fatherhood, everything appeared clear to him. He used to be crazy when he read texts written by the future pope, as he found a scenario of his life in them. As soon as it was possible, he went to Vatican, to John Paul II, in order to throw himself into his open arms and thank him for helping him discover the mystery of fatherhood. He treated being a father as the peak and a whole of his masculine maturity.
He spoke about himself that he was a monk with strong signs of an incurable ‘papal illness’. For he was crazy about John Paul II whose school he had gone through and still discovered his teaching together with the youth. He collected, or, in fact, he was trying to gain everything which was connected with the Polish Pope, even his papal calotte and pope’s personal handkerchief. He could take the floor and a window from the room at 3 Franciszkańska Street in Cracow to Lednica, as well as a hassock with impressed traces of elbows and knees of St. John Paul II. It was John Paul II who was a spiritual carer of youth’s meetings under the Fish Gate at Lednica lake near Gniezno. And Fr. Jan Góra, through the formation in Lednica, gave young people wings so that they could fly up high. There were just preparations for another event of entering baptismal waters in relation to the 1050th anniversary of Poland Baptism, while, unexpectedly, the founder of Lednica went away to eternity. He fainted during celebrating the Holy Mass in the Dominicans’ chapel ‘At God’s home’ in Poznań, where he had been awaiting the youth for years and had been praying with them. Before that he had been reflecting on the text of Liturgy for that day from Songs of songs, from which the inscription on his priestly picture came from: ‘Show me your face….’.And he went away, not slamming the door…