In the metropolitan cathedral in Astana, on 6 -7 July 2013, there was a Eucharist Congress. Apart from conferences, prayers and participation in the Holy Mass, an exceptional event was the beginning of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in front of the altar 'Star of Kazakhstan', designed for the National Sanctuary, whose patron is Our Lady the Queen of Peace in Oziornoje

The Eucharistic congress in Astana was the first pastoral event of this kind in the history of the Catholic Church in Kazakhstan. It was attended by bishops and archbishops working in Kazakhstan, an apostolic nuncio in Kazakhstan, Kirgistan and Tadżykistan archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia and a big group of believers representing particular dioceses of the Catholic Church in this country.

There were also pilgrims from area near the Vistula, who were headed by the primate of Poland archbishop Józef Kowalczyk and the delegate of the prior of Jasna Góra Father Albert Szustak OSPPE and representatives of the Association 'Communita Regina della Pace' with its chairman Piotr Ciołkiewicz and an artist from Gdańsk Mariusz Drapikowski.

Opening the congress, the chairman of the Bishops' Conference in Kazakhstan archbishop Tomasz Peta said, among the others: - Let this special event, whose aim is deepening the spiritual relationship of each of us with Eucharistic Christ, be a fruitful seed, which will give much fruit of the good and Divine Peace in our hearts.

Particular conferences, prayers, Holy Masses, celebrated by bishops, archbishops, and a several dozens of priests, as well as adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as time goes by, became a kind of evangelical seed of peace in human hearts absorbed in prayer.

Time of the Eucharistic congress in Astana started also the last phase on the peregrination road lasting for a year, and full of prayers at the altar of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 'Star of Kazakhstan', designed for the National Sanctuary of the Queen of Peace in Oziornoje. - The altar - as the chairman Piotr Ciołkiewicz emphasized in his pronouncement - is a material sign of our action, that is, apostolate of prayer adoration of Eucharistic Christ, and supporting any kind of initiatives undertaken for the sake of building peace and conciliation among people. He noted that the inspiration for undertaking this kind of activity was an attitude of a steadfast faith of the great advocate of peace blessed John Paul II, who in the document 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia' wrote: 'Mary is a Virgin of Eucharist in her whole life. The Church, looking at Mary as its example, is called to follow Her also in reference to the Holiest Mystery'. - This, in turn - added Piotr Ciołkiewicz- was at the source of the beginning of the idea of 12 Stars in the Crown of Mary the Queen of Peace, that is, creating twelve centres of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the world, in the intention of Peace.

The chairman of 'Communita Regina della Pace' reminded that the first altar of adoration 'Triptych of Jerusalem' was installed in the Fourth Station of the Road of Cross in Jerusalem, and the second one is just 'Star of Kazakhstan'.

Shortly before the beginning of the presentation of iconographic symbolism of the altar by an artist from Gdańsk Mariusz Drapikowski, archbishop Tomasz Peta greeted the vice-minister for religion Kajrat Lama Szarifa, representing the president of Kazakhstan Nursułtan Nazarbajew. This fact confirmed that the most important personas of the country are interested in the initiative of the Association 'Communita Regina della Pace', whose material sign is the altar 'Star of Kazakhstan'.

Whereas, Mariusz Drapikowski, referring to the genesis of symbolism included in the altar emphasized that the creative process was accompanied by a constant prayer, whereas he took inspirations for using particular artistic solutions from reading the Holy Scripture.

- Valuable reflections were given to me by the literary work of John Paul II 'The Roman triptych', especially the third part entitled: 'A hill on the Moria land', which is divided into the four sub-chapters being a poetic story about the history of Abraham -explained Mariusz Drapikowski.

- The history of the Father of the Chosen Nation - he emphasized - can be understood as an omen of the future Passion of Jesus, being an essential pretext in order to address an appeal for hope to humankind on the basis of the mystery and the magnitude of Divine Mercifulness. - A closed altar - the artist noted - refers to the Old Testament and the covenant of God with Abraham, whereas after its opening, the 'Heavenly Jerusalem' appears.

The moment of opening of the pentaptych, which was accompanied by the fanfare composed by Fr. Zygmunt Słomski, a priest from Gdańsk, moved everybody with its majesty, whereas the sight of the altar illuminated inside, where the main element is the monstrance in the shape of Our Lady cuddling her Son to her heart, caused tears of emotions among many people. After the presentation, the monstrance was taken to the main altar and adoration for the whole night started.

Sunday of 7 July was the second day of the Eucharistic Congress in Astana. The solemn Eucharist attended by the apostolic nuncio archbishop Miguel Maura Buendia was presided over by the primate of Poland archbishop Józef Kowalczyk. In the homily he noted the Year of Faith experienced in the universal Church, which is a moral obligation for all believers to follow St. Paul in preaching the Gospel about Christ, in being witnesses of Divine Love and Divine Mercifulness. - Let your prayer said to God through the intercession of Mary the Queen of Peace be a constant call for peace and Divine Mercifulness - the Primate of Poland appealed.

After the Holy Mass there was a Eucharistic procession to the four altars, and after blessing finishing the Eucharistic Congress in Astana, the Blessed Sacrament was taken to the altar 'Star of Kazakhstan' and its adoration began.

- Since then every day, for the nearest year - archbishop Tomasz Peta assured - in our church there is going to be adoration and prayer in the intention of peace. - We believe - he added- that in July next year, we will be able to start adoration to Christ exposed in the altar 'Star of Kazakhstan', in the place of its destination, in the Sanctuary of Our Lady the Queen of Peace in Oziornoje.


"Niedziela" 29/2013

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