AWARENESS OF THE CHURCH THROUGH CONTACT WITH PEOPLE
Prelate Priest Ireneusz Skubiś talks with a new archbishop, the metropolitan of Wrocław Józef Kupny
PRELATE PRIEST IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ: - First of all, I would like to congratulate to Archbishop. The editorial team of the 'Sunday' is very glad with this election, for which whole Poland has been waiting. Archbishop, can we ask for some comment on it. The Church of Wroclaw is a big Church, the Church of cardinal Boleslaw Kominek, cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz, recently archbishop Marian Gołębiewski. Your Excellency is coming as the next metropolitan. What feeling were accompanying Archbishop, during this nomination by pope Francis?
ARCHBISHOP JÓZEF KUPNY: - Certainly, it was an astonishment for me, because I had not expected the nomination in Wrocław in the Holy See. But, on the other hand, when I heard about it, I felt great gratitude for the Holy Father Francis and also gratitude towards co-brothers in bishopric. I am aware that there is friendliness in this decision of the Holy Father Francis and also a kind of an evaluation of my person and trustfulness to me. I accepted this nomination in the spirit of faith and trustfulness to God, because when he entrusts us tasks, He gives power and the light of the Holy Spirit in order to do them. Therefore, I am fully aware that God, despite of our constraints and weaknesses, he can extract what is the best, which can serve to the Church in the best way, including the Church in Wrocław.
- Archbishop is one of the first metropolitans nominated by the new Pope. How Your Excellency, as a specialist of the social teaching of the Church, perceives pope Francis, who so often touches human poverty and social matters in the Church?
- Pope Francis has an experience of the Church in South America. It is a great way of enriching the universal Church, which has been perceived so far only from the European perspective. We find out that in South America there is a very lively Church, people express their faith in a very lively way. Moreover, we perceive a problem of big poverty. Through his own experience, Pope is opening our eyes, saying: listen, you must help those who are in need, you must love them. The Church must be sensitive for people in need, like a mother. The Holy Father shows us a new perspective of our social engagement. I think he will continue this line. Poverty is calling for help. We must notice that poor people in western countries or in our homeland are not the same poor people who are in South America, in Africa or India. Their status is much lower there, they must often fight for their survival. Needs are much higher there. We must also, considering this perspective, help those who do good. They must be encouraged: you have what others need so much, use it and share it with those who cannot take care of themselves, because they are not creative, who agree to poverty, accept it, and are not able to cross its border. You are appointed to create this wealth and share it with others. These things are deeply connected with each other. So, those who want to create the common welfare, need much help and support from the Church, especially in ethical actions.
- Did Excellency have a possibility to get to know the Church of Wrocław? What Church is it like?
- First of all, I have a historic knowledge. The diocese of Katowice had belonged to the diocese of Wrocław till the year 1922 (part of the Upper Silesia), in the year 1922 the apostolic administration in Katowice was established, and in the year 1925 - the diocese of Katowice. In Wrocław priests were educated and formed spiritually and intellectually. Only after establishing the diocese, in Cracow the Silesian Seminary was established. Therefore, the Silesians from Upper Silesia have an experience of the Wrocław Church, in which, for example, cardinal Bolesław Kominek, or auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Wrocław Paweł Latusek had their ministry.
- …Also bishop Teodor Kubina, the first bishop of Częstochowa, was a priest in Wrocław, and later a parish priest in Katowice.
- I am deeply aware of this heritage. Awareness of the Church is always through contact with people. In the years 1975-77, as a cleric I was in military service, in a special clerical unit in Brzeg, in the diocese of Wrocław. In my memory there is still a picture of people who were very friendly to us. We knew that we were clerics taken away from the army by the communist authority. They brought us sugar, food, because the times were difficult. We were under care of the spiritual Father of the seminary in Wrocław, who used to come to Brzeg. During studies in the seminary, priests from the archdiocese of Wrocław used to come to give lectures. Last year I was to celebrations of St. Jadwiga Śląska in Trzebnica, near Wrocław. So, this church is very close to me. I hope that people will accept me there in a friendly way.
- Surely priests of Wrocław will be glad because they have waited for new pastor for a long time. Their joy will be much bigger, when they find out that somebody who is very close to them will be the pastor. And Archbishop is going to face a big task of showing this beautiful bishopric with rich traditions - I will remind cardinal Koninek again, who has played an important role in the life of the Church in Silesia, in Poland and in Europe. We wish Excellency all the best in following His great predecessors.
- I hope that it will be so, this hope gives me strength and courage in undertaking the task which the Holy Father Francis gave to me, in the spirit of great trustfulness in the power of God and His Providence.
- Excellency, we have an edition of 'Sunday' in the archdiocese of Wrocław, which is serving to the local Church. Today we are standing in front of the new Archbishop Metropolitan to say that 'Sunday of Wrocław' is for the disposition of Arch-pastor. We want to help and serve. I will remind the words, which were said in 1926 by the founder of 'Sunday' - bishop Teodor Kubina, bishop from Silesia, that 'Sunday' is supposed to be an additional vicar for a parish priest and a suffragan for a bishop…
- 'Sunday' can rely on me, on my heart and on my support, and today I assure about it.
- And we assure about our prayer in the intention of Archbishop and the whole archdiocese in front of the throne of Our Lady at Jasna Góra.