- I returned to the paradise of my childhood. Therefore, I feel here like at home – said cardinal Joachim Meisner from Koln during the Holy Mass celebrated on 15 February 2014 in Mary’s Basilica in Krzeszów. In this place he was celebrating his 80th birthday and the jubilee of the 25 years of his archbishopric ministry in Koln. Pope Francis accepted his resignation from this function because of his retiring age

On the occasion of these two jubilees the Guest from Germany arrived in the sanctuary of Our Lady the Gracious in Krzeszów, with whom he has been related since his childhood. For Cardinal Joachim Meisner was born in Wrocław and he often made pilgrimages to Our Lady in Krzeszów with his parents.

The solemn jubilee Holy Mass was participated by: bishop of Legnica Stefan Cichy, auxiliary bishop Marek Mendyk, members of the Chapter of Krzeszów, believers and guests of cardinal Meisner.

In the homily bishop Stefan Cichy reminded the relations of Cardinal with the Lower Silesia, with the diocese of Legnica and Krzeszów. Referring to the person of Our Lady, he said: - Mary teaches us to fulfill God’s will. This is a task and vocation for everybody. Christ, who gave his life for fellowmen, perfectly fulfilled God’s will. We always see this truth when we participate in Christ’s Sacrifice. We also learn it from the Master.

Bishop Cichy also emphasized that there are many people in our life from whom we can learn to fulfill God’s will. Among them there is also the dignified jubilee bishop. – Today we are thanking for 80 years of his life and 25 years of his archbishopric ministry in Koln. We are thanking particularly for words and texts through which he taught, especially the texts concerning Our Lady. Many of them were translated into Polish. They show a deep Marian piousness of Priest Cardinal – said Bishop of Legnica.

In the word addressed to participants of the ceremony cardinal Meisner reminded his relations with Krzeszów. – Standing here, I feel as if I have returned to the paradise of my childhood. I and my parents have made many pilgrimages to Our Lady. For many years in my prayer book we have had a picture of the church in Krzeszów – said the German Hierarch. – Looking at the altar, at organs and the whole inside of the basilica, I imagined the Heaven in this way – he added.

The archbishop of Koln also emphasized that despite the political divisions and differences which had appeared after the war, Krzeszów has always been a place in which everyone could pray. – The door of the church is always open for those who want to pay a tribute to Christ’s Mother – he said.

As a sign of gratitude for graces received in this place, cardinal Meisner offered the museum in Krzeszów his bishopric cross with the image of Christ Pantocrat. – I used it very rarely because it was too valuable for me. Now I want it to remain in this place as a sign of my gratitude – said a Guest from Koln.

Whereas Cardinal Meisner was given a stone figure of Our Lady of the Assumption – a miniature of the figure being above the entrance to the basilica in Krzeszów. Funders of this souvenir are the Piasecki family from Kowary, the owners of the Park of Miniatures.

During a ceremony a Secretary of cardinal Meisner – Fr. Oliver Boss was accepted to Canons of the Chapter of Krzeszów. This nomination is also a tribute towards Priest Cardinal and thanking him for his friendship and help given to our diocese and this place – said Bishop of Legnica, giving the new Canon a ring and a distinction.

A wide report and a gallery of photos of this ceremony is available on the website of Radio Plus Legnica:

Cardinal Joachim Meisner was born in Wrocław on 25 December 1933. He lived at Hirschberger Street (at present Jeleniogórska St., the corner of Kosmonaut), where his parents used to run a shop. He attended a primary school at the present Skoczylas street. He left Wrocław in 1945 when the German authorities ordered the evacuation of the city. He graduated from Seminary in Erfurt and received priestly ordination. He gained the PhD of the Church history at the Gregorian University in Rome. He was nominated an auxiliary bishop in Erfurt and then a bishop of Berlin. On 5 January 1983 John Paul II nominated him for the Cardinal College, and on 20 December 1988 he received the dignity of the archbishop of Koln. Cardinal Meisner is a great advocate for the sake of Polish-German reconciliation . He often visited the diocese of Legnica and the sanctuary in Krzeszów.


"Niedziela" 9/2014

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