Bp Wojciech Polak – new general secretary of the Polish Episcopal Conference
In Przemyśl, on 14-16 October the 356th plenary meeting of the Polish Episcopal Conference was held, related to the 33rd anniversary of the election of John Paul II and the celebration of the 25th anniversary of his ordination as bishop, Archbishop of Przemyśl, Józef Michalik. During the deliberations Polish Episcopate nominated a team for New Evangelization within the Commission for the Pastoral Care. The team is composed of the representatives of Catholic Movements and Associations. In the plenary meeting programme there was an issue concerning standardization of the management of material goods of the Church. There was also a discussion on the declaration of the Churches on mixed marriages. The plenary meeting was ended on 16 October with the Holy Mass in the cathedral of Przemyśl, presided by Archbishop Józef Michalik. During the meeting in Przemyśl bishops elected a new general secretary of the Polish Episcopal Conference. It was 47-year-old auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Gniezno, Wojciech Polak, recently acting as a delegate of the Polish Episcopal Conference in the ministry among Polish emigration. Within the Polish Episcopate, Bishop Polak is a member of the Charity Commission and a member of the Clergy Commission and also a member of the Council for Youth Ministry. He presided, among the others in work on the introduction of the propaedeutical period in higher seminars in Poland. Bishop Polak was born on 19 December 1964 in Inowrocław. He graduated from philosophy and theology studies at the Seminary of the Primate in Gniezno in 1988, obtaining a Master’s degree in moral theology at the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Poznań. In 1989 – 1991 he was a vicar in the parish Farna in Bydgoszcz and a resident secretary of the Auxiliary Bishop of Gniezno and the Episcopal vicar for the city of Bydgoszcz, Jan Nowak.
He studied moral theology at the Alphonsian Academy, the Higher Institute of Moral Theology of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome where he studied undergraduate and then defended his doctorial thesis on the ecclesial dimension of sin and reconciliation in post-conciliar teaching of the Church. After returning to Poland, in 1995 he began lecturing in moral theology at the Major Primate Metropolitan Seminary in Gniezno, while serving as a prefect there and a rector from 1 August 1999 to 2003. On 8 April John Paul II appointed him the Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Gniezno. He adopted his bishop consecration on 4 May 2003 in the Primatial Basilica in Gniezno from the then Metropolitan Archbishop of Gniezno, Henryk Muszyński. At that time, he was the youngest bishop in the world. His Episcopal motto were the words: ‘Jesus Dominum’(‘Jesus is Lord’). Bishop Polak serves as the delegate of the Polish Episcopal Conference for vocations and presides in the European Vocations Service (EVS). He has been a member of the Persistent Council of the Polish Episcopal Conference.