I visited Sokołka…

Fr Florian

Not out of curiosity but journalist’s duty. Since our weekly behoves itself to say something about the event that took place in St Anthony’s Church in Sokolka, especially when other media reported about it. We reached Sokolka in the evening. It is a neat town of 20,000 people, located in the north-east from Bialystok, 16 km from the border with Belarus. There was a Mass celebrated in the crowded church. Most people received Holy Communion. We knew that the object of our interest was not in the church but in the small chapel in the parish house. The parish priest welcomed us kindly. He informed us that the blood substance found in the vessel filled with water where the consecrated Host, which had fell on the floor of the church, evoked understandable sensation and question whether we were to deal with the so-called Eucharistic miracle. It was obvious that the vessel should be taken to the chapel in the parish house to secure and protect it against those who pursued sensation. Although the curious cannot enter the chapel we were allowed to see it. On the second day of our visit the local Curia gave us a permission to take photos of the chapel. Over the tabernacle there is a copy of the picture of the Merciful Jesus which is in the church and which was given by Fr Michal Sopocko. We are the first paper that has published the photo of this tabernacle. The awareness that this tabernacle hid a phenomenon that was a challenge to the mind rather than to our faith made us look at it in a special way. Unexpectedly, to our joy, the parish priest informed us that the local bishop allowed us to see the substance preserved in a round flat, gilt vessel used to carry Communion to the sick. The vessel is covered with a small corporal, folded into three equal parts. Showing proper veneration to the Blessed Sacrament the parish priest uncovered the vessel. I was much impressed by the sight of that tiny substance of blood tissue. Although the inhabitants of Sokolka did not hide their interest in every comment concerning the event those who come here from the neighbourhood or distant places to visit the site of the alleged miracle are surprised not to find sensational atmosphere here. During the vespers that ended the day adoration of the Blessed Sacrament held on every Thursday the church was full of people. The inhabitants of Sokolka are peacefully waiting for the opinion of the ecclesiastical authorities. They trust the prudence and deliberation of their bishop. One of the inhabitants told me, ‘Regardless of our waiting for the opinion we wonder what God wants to tell us through this event, what he wants from us. Undoubtedly, it is a challenge to deepen our knowledge about the Eucharist, which hides the mystery of his presence among us.’ Someone else added, Of course, we are looking for some evidence that would confirm it as a supernatural ‘miraculous’ event. But without such events we believe that during every Mass we have the miracle of transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ – therefore, there is nothing extraordinary when this mystery becomes visible sometimes. We thank priests for their encouraging us to fill our hearts and minds with the light of this truth.’ And being asked to comment on the TV reports concerning the event several parishioners said, ‘The journalists do not want to talk to us about things that are important. They look for these arguments that would undermine the miraculous dimension of this event and look for people who would help them do that. They are blind to what is essential and the essential thing is the truth, proclaimed only by Christianity, that the Son of God is really, truly, with us, that he became our food for eternal life.’

"Niedziela" 47/2009

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl