10th Pilgrimage of 'Niedziela' to Jasna Gora
Fr Mariusz Frukacz
The 10th Pilgrimage of Workers, Readers and Friends of the Catholic Weekly 'Niedziela' to Jasna Gora took place on 16 September 2006. The motto of this year's meeting was 'Sursum corda! - Lift up your hearts! This pilgrimage of 'Niedziela' had a unique, jubilee character. It was the main event of the 80th anniversary of 'Niedziela' (1926-2006) and the 25th anniversary of Msgr Ireneusz Skubis as the editor-in-chief of the weekly, after its re-establishment in 1981. The journalists and editors, who collaborated with 'Niedziela' in its 20 diocesan editions and two editions for the Polonia, in Chicago and in America, arrived for their cyclical working meeting a day earlier.
A solemn Mass in the Jasna Gora Basilica, presided over by Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak of Czestochowa, began the celebrations of 'Niedziela'. The other celebrants included: Bishop Adam Lepa of Lodz who delivered a homily, Msgr Ireneusz Skubis and 45 priests. At the beginning of the Eucharist Fr Kazimierz Maniecki, subprior of Jasna Gora, welcomed the gathered people and thanked 'Niedziela' for its Marian character and faithfulness to the Church and Homeland. He focused on the relationship between 'Niedziela' and Jasna Gora.
'Do whatever he tells you'
In his homily Bishop Adam Lepa, referring to the evangelical event in Cana, reminded us that Mary was the first Editress of 'Niedziela' and she told us what to do. Speaking about the significance of 'Niedziela' for the Church in Poland he stressed its faithfulness in 'building on the Rock', which is 'the most beautiful answer given to the Mother of the Word to her command 'Do whatever he tells you''. Through printed word 'Niedziela' moulds the thinking of millions of Poles, deepens their healthy criticism and protects the picture of the reality against distortion', said Bishop Lepa. He also emphasized the great, 25 year old contribution of Msgr Ireneusz Skubis to 'Niedziela' and his involvement in evangelisation. Referring to the history of the weekly Bishop Lepa reminded us of the two totalitarianisms that had made 'Niedziela' silent ( Nazism and Communism. The bishop thanked the Mother of the Word and our Lady of Czestochowa for 'Niedziela'. An important expression of thanksgiving for the work of 'Niedziela' was the procession of the gifts, which the workers of the editorial board offered on the altar. It was the fruit of the year's work: an annual bound volume of 'Niedziela' and books of the series 'Biblioteka Niedzieli'. During the Mass a banner of 'Niedziela', offered by the Friends of Niedziela from Slupsk, was dedicated. The banner with a picture of Mary Regina Poloniae and the words of St Maximilian Kolbe 'To win the world for Christ through the Immaculate Virgin' was embroidered by the Sisters of Poor Clare from Slupsk.
At the end of the Mass, on behalf of the gathered people Msgr Ireneusz Skubis expressed wishes to Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak of Czestochowa. It was on the eve of his name day. Then Fr Skubis dedicated the work and people of 'Niedziela' to our Lady of Jasna Gora by reading the Act of Dedication to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Before giving his solemn blessing Archbishop Nowak thanked God for the work of 'Niedziela' and thanked 'Niedziela' for its faithfulness to the history of salvation, to Lord God and the Church as well as for its endurance in following the Marian way.
In the John Paul II aula hall
After the Mass there was a meeting of all participants of the pilgrimage in the John Paul II hall in Jasna Gora. There were Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak, Bishop Adam Lepa, Fr Jerzy Tominski, a Pauline priest, Mr Marek Jurek, Chairman of the Polish Parliament, Senator Czeslaw Ryszka, Senator Jaroslaw Lasecki, Szymon Gizynski, MP, President of Czestochowa Tadeusz Wrona, President of Radomsko Jerzy Slowinski and Fr Andrzej Majewski, SJ, director of the TV Catholic Programmes. At the beginning of the meeting Fr Skubis received wishes on the occasion of his 25th anniversary of service to the Church through 'Niedziela'. Mr Czeslaw Ryszka read wishes of Mr Krzysztof Putra, Vice-chairman of the Senate and conferred a senate distinction on the editor-in-chief. The gathered people listened to the testimony of Fr Jerzy Tomzinski of Jasna Gora about his relationships with 'Niedziela' from his childhood and the testimony of Sr Danuta Nowak, a Grey Ursuline, who said about the special event in 1978 when the news of the election of Cardinal Wojtyla to papacy reached the student pastoral centre in Czestochowa, which was run by Fr Skubis. She told us in what way the whole pontificate was important to 'Niedziela'.
Two speeches were given. Bishop Adam Lepa spoke about the pollution of the air. Among other things he focused on the threat of information noise, lack of reliable information and lack of upbringing to receive information. The Chairman of the Parliament Mr Marek Jurek spoke about morality in politics.
Medals 'Mater Verbi'
As usual a very important moment of the meeting was the conferral of medals 'Mater Verbi' on the people who were involved in the work of 'Niedziela' in a special way. Among those who were distinguished was Fr Stanislaw Pietka, guardian of the Franciscan monastery in Niepokalanow. Thanking for the medal he said, 'Holding this medal I am thinking to myself: Not on us, Lord, not on us, but on the Editor and the Editorial Board of 'Niedziela' we should offer congratulations as well as say wishes and give medals. A quarter of a century of the Editor-in-chief at the editorial desk should be noticed and rewarded not only in heaven in the future but now on earth'. Another distinguished person was Fr Andrzej Majewski, SJ, who is known for the Sunday television programme 'Between earth and heaven'. He was the first person that interviewed the Holy Father Benedict XVI. Anna Cichoblazinska, member of the editorial board, and the editor-in-chief kept the order of the meeting in the John Paul II hall.
The 10th Jubilee Pilgrimage of 'Niedziela' ended with the Jasna Gora Appeal in the Chapel of our Lady.