Polish Television prepared a documentary entitled: 'A history of one cross' - about a cross of John Paul II of the Good Friday 2005. The history of this cross and circumstances of making the film is presented by priest Józef Brzostowski, a journalist of the Polish Television SA Department in Rzeszów

This cross was shown to the world on the last Good Friday in earthly life of John Paul II - on 25 March 2005. Exhausted by his illness, the Holy Father was not able to participate in the Road of the Cross at that time in the Roman Colosseum. So, he was praying in his private chapel, cuddling up the cross.

Good Friday 2005

Crowds of the faithful from the whole world gathered around enlightened walls of the Roman Colosseum. Concentrated faces of pilgrims, children with colourful Chinese lanterns. The previous place of death of hundreds of Christians was surrounded by a prayer. In this exceptional scenery we see a raised cross in the presence of bishops and cardinals.
In the life of John Paul II was the last Good Friday. Exhausted by his illness, the Holy Father was in his private chapel where he was spiritually joining the participants of the Road of Cross in the prayer in Colosseum via television. In this way, the faithful were accompanying their Pope in his prayer of the Road of Cross. This night is described by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in his passion reflections: ' (J 12,24). Jesus is a wheat gift which dies. The dead grain of wheat gives the beginning to a big multiplying of bread which lasts till the end of the world: He is the bread of life, able to satisfy hunger of humankind abundantly and give it a life-giving food, the eternal God's Word which has become body for us and also bread, through the cross and Resurrection, a mystery of Eucharist shines over the funeral of Jesus'.
Before the XIV station of the Road of Cross, John Paul II asked for the cross. After his tracheotomy, when the Pope was not able to speak, he used his gesture to express his request for bringing the cross to him. So, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz said to priest Mieczysław Mokrzycki: 'Please, bring the cross'. The personal secretary went to his bedroom, took down the cross from a wall and brought it to the Holy Father. The whole world saw an amazing picture via the satellite transmission - John Paul II cuddling to the cross like a child. This day will always remain in memory of Stanislaw Trafalski, the sculptor - artist. The artist went to the forests in Bieszczady mountains, cut down a tree and made the cross. He was saying a prayer of the Road of Cross in the intention of his wife who had been paralysed for 15 years. The raw tree was very heavy and the route of the Road of Cross was exhausting. He fell down under the cut down tree many times but he reached to the aim and put the cross into the ground with his last strength. It is there till today. When he came back home, changed his clothes quickly and improved his appearance. He did not want his wife and son to see him in that state. It was his mystery. In the late evening he and his wife were watching the transmission of the Papal Road of Cross. Stanislaw was sitting in an armchair and his wife - in a wheelchair. What was their surprise, when they saw this cross in the hands of the Holy Father! - Janina! It is the same cross which I made one day. - It is impossible! Mrs Janina answered.

Year 1990

This year turned out to be tragic for Mrs Janina. She was cleaning windows at home. Suddenly she fell off and broke her backbone. Despite quick help, many operations and surgeries, she lost the ability of walking for ever. Then she broke down and did not invite anybody. She covered her windows with blinds. She wanted to hide her invalidism from the world. Feeling insulted toward God, plunged in her pain she was constantly asking questions: 'God, why me, why now? I have a son Sebastian who is nearly 6 years old. How will they manage without my help?' Her husband Stanislaw was suffering with his wife. He closed himself in his workshop. There he sculptured, painted and was thinking how to help her. One day he decided to sculpture a cross for her. After a few months he brought her a black crucifix and said: 'It is for you'.
In the year 2000 the delegation of members of the local government from Cracow and the officer of village Olszanica were going to Vatican. The village officer asked the artist Stanislaw Trafalski for a kind of souvenir for the Holy Father. The artist was thinking long about what sculpture to give to the Pope. Then his wife suggested that she would give back her cross. It was a difficult and brave decision. They bade farewell to the family souvenir, not believing that it would really got to the Pope.

Year 2007

It has been two years since the death of the Holy Father. The personal secretary of John Paul II and Benedict XVI - Fr. Mieczysław Mokrzycki received a bishop's sacra in Vatican. He was nominated a new metropolitan of Lvov, after Cardinal Marian Jaworski. The new bishop of Lvov packed his things. He also took the memorial cross of the Good Friday.
After his arrival at his country, he gave the cross to his parents: Bronisława and Piotr living in Łukawiec. It had already been a relic for them. A close friend of Archbishop Mokrzycki - a parish priest Mieczysław Bizior was emotionally moved by the touching history of the cross and asked the parents for a possibility of exhibiting it in his parish. With the consent of their son, they gave the Good Friday cross to the church in Kraczkowa village. Today this relic is wandering through parishes of Przemyśl land. People adore this cross and pray at it and the cross enlightens their faith and reminds them of the testimony of the beloved John Paul II.

Year 2012

It has been another visit at Janina and Stanislaw Trafalscy. A smiling face of the woman in a wheelchair. Her hands burnt from a kettle - she is warming them in this way. She has been complaining about her cold hands and legs for 22 years - it is the effect of problems with blood circulation. A rosary is lying on a kitchen table. They are preparing for the Easter. Her husband cleans windows and she helps him. - I am happy - she says. - I am happy about the forthcoming Easter. It feels spring in the air. She understood the sense of her suffering only from the perspective of the wheelchair. Today she is certain that this simple cross helped her survive the most difficult moments.


"Niedziela" 18/2012

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