Monumental walls of the ancient cathedral of Gniezno have not seen such an ingress yet. Beside the primate Wojciech Polak, taking over his office, there were also two senior primates: archbishop Henryk Muszyński and archbishop Józef Kowalczyk. And everything at the times when in the universal Church, beside pope Francis holding his office, there is still the senior pope Benedict XVI. It shows how much the Church has changed in the recent years. And how different role of the primate is today.

It is still an important function. And great hopes are connected with archbishop Wojciech Polak, who on 7 June 2014, on the Eve of the Pentecost, solemnly took over the office of the archbishop metropolitan of Gniezno and the primate of Poland.

Joy, hope and an ear

Just before the ingress the Archbishop met with journalists. – I have joy and hope that I will fulfill God’s will – he said. He did not avoid giving an answer to the question about tips for his successor on the post of the general Secretary of the Episcopate. – I would wish I had a good ear to bring it closer to the beating heart of the Church and have an ear sensitive to various situations which happen also in the reality of the social life.

At the very noon a procession was formed of over forty bishops and cardinals which set off to the arch-cathedral of Gniezno. At the famous Door of Gniezno the new Primate was greeted by canons of the Primate Chapter. When archbishop Polak was coming up to the altar, he stopped at the first bench on which his parents, brothers and sisters were sitting. He kissed hands of his moved mother and father. – Parents were blessing me before my priestly, bishopric ordinations, a great grace for me is the fact that they are accompanying me in prayer also now – the Primate said to ‘Niedziela’.

The homily of archbishop Polak was welcomed by believers with loud applause. – Poland takes its strength from here, after all, it is here where it was baptized over a thousand years ago. It is here from where the Church, built on the martyr blood of St. Wojciech takes its strength – he said, referring to the history and historical tradition. He also referred to the words of St. John Paul II and reminded that ‘as often we are here, in this place, we must see anew the open Upper Room of the Pentecost, and seeing open door of the Upper Room – like apostles – we must give a testimony about Jesus Christ.

I want to be for you

The word which sounded many times during the homily of the new Primate of Poland was ‘joy’. How adequately to the style of behavior of archbishop Polak and to the framework and atmosphere of the whole ceremony. – I want to be here for you, with you and among you for progress and joy in faith. – he said. – And although it is true that also in my case – I admit it with humility – this mission is also inscribed in my human limitations, I really want – being encouraged by pope Francis – the beauty of the Gospel to be noticed and accepted better by everybody – archbishop Polak assured. He showed again that he is a man open to people and the world. Guests in the cathedral remembered very well the words said by the new primate just after the nomination had been announced: ‘I want to open everybody the door to the Church!’.

The majesty of the whole ceremony was added by the Primate Choir. Many parts of the Holy Mass, with Credo and the Common Prayer were sung by the choir as well. Beautifully and joyfully. Majestically. Although it was sometimes nostalgic – when, for example, archbishop Polak reminisced the primate Józef Glemp, who gave priestly ordinations in the same place, the cathedral of Gniezno 25 years ago.

Primacy, which in 2009 returned to Gniezno, is the basically honourable function. It is not any more connected with old historic rights, but it still remains important. Especially when it is held by a person with a charisma and the new metropolitan of Gniezno archbishop Wojciech Polak has this charisma.

There will also surely hopes be fulfilled that he is going to be an important Primate of Poland.


"Niedziela" 24/2014

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