LET THE CANONIZATION OF JOHN PAUL II WAKE UP THE SLEEPING NATION’
Agnieszka Dziarmaga is talking with a bishop of Kielce prof. dr. hab. Kazimierz Ryczan the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination
AGNIESZKA DZIARMAGA: - Priest Bishop have been joining academic, didactic work with the pastoral one for 50 years,, and with the bishopric ministry for 20 years. What is an apple of your eyes for Bishop as a Priest? In other words – what remains the most important for Priest, who is also a bishop, ordinary, of the diocese of Kielce, with 50 years of work?
BISHOP KAZIMIERZ RYCZAN: - You are asking about priorities. At the moment of entering the road of vocation, I subordinated my life to priesthood, that is, ministry to God and people. It is not a slogan which was taught by spiritual fathers. It was an azimuth, which led me through a seminary, for a two-year-old military service, specialist studies, academic work at university and bishopric vocation. This azimuth shows me a way also today. My ministry to God and Homeland from the level of university changed into the bishop’s ministry in the diocese of Kielce dear to me.
I ask God to help me build a relation between Him and people, through my ministry. Exactly speaking – not to get lost in activism, but maintain brotherly relations with clergy, consecrated people and parish communities. Being in the relations of community, we are able to be close to God and close to a man, we can rise from our weaknesses, develop together and grow to Christian brotherhood. We can fight for God’s place in Poland and for space helpful for bringing up the nation at the times when the helmsmen of the country got lost and they are suggesting glittering things of the secular West to the young generation as a vade mecum. We will be in the relations of the community, so that our voice would be strong and loud. We will be in the relations of the community during a prayer, so that our voice would be effective. We will be guarding justice so that it would not miss mercifulness. No priest can forget about it today or tomorrow.
– And what event from the 50s remains in your memory the most?
– A big event of the time of my priesthood was the pontificate of John Paul II. It seems that this fact is not emphasized enough. Great and significant religious events are deliberately and programmatically muted. Enemies know about it. We had a possibility to meet the holy man every day. He spoke our language. Everybody could understand him – the older and the younger, communists, creators of martial law and the interned, prisoners and free people, sinners and righteous people. Meeting with praying John Paul II left nostalgia for the next meeting, in order to experience a part of supernaturalism. It was him who managed to ask the Master of Nazareth to send the Holy Spirit onto our homeland. The breath of His power wiped out the communist regime from Europe. After 50 years of captivity, freedom came. It was the biggest event of centuries, and slaves of cheap bread used to call: ‘communism, come back!’ Communism went to Rome and did an assassination on the prophet. The Immaculate Mary is intervening because He was completely Hers. We could read out signs of the presence of Jesus in the Church.
My dream is that the canonization of John Paul II would wake up the sleeping nation, so that it would stand up and say bravely – certainly through elections – definite ‘no’ to the secular, anti-Polish, liberal army, because Poland without any roots, tradition and values, without an identity may become a vassal of rich neighbours. After all, they are shaking their hands above our heads again. We can learn from wise Hungarians who used to say ‘no’ to Russia, and now they say ‘no’ to imperial Europe.
– Bishop is interested very lively in social matters, and is asked for mediation in disputable issues. Which communities trust Bishop of Kielce?
– There is a known Latin saying that the mouth says from the abundance of heart. The faculty of my studies and academic researches allowed me to study the sociology of religion and the Catholic social teaching. I know that through their prism I often look at the events of everyday life in the Church, politics and the nation. I am not afraid of these issues, and they are not a secular sphere for me. They relate to the human being who lives in the social environment and is redeemed there. Among these issues, I am trying to be with the Gospel, with a good word, with a prayer. Kielce demands a lot of prayer.