IT IS WORTH LIVING FOR ONE LOVE
He wrote on his jubilee picture: ‘I have trusted you, Lord. Totus Tuus’. He has been walking the priestly path for 50 years. Nearly every day at nine in the evening we can meet with him at Our Lady’s at the Appeal prayer at Jasna Gora
The golden jubilee of priestly ordination was celebrated on 28 June this year at Jasna Gora by Fr. Prof. Zachariasz Jablonski, a Pauline Father. The Jubilee Holy Mass before the Miraculous Image of Our Lady was presided over by archbishop Waclaw Depo, the metropolitan of Czestochowa. The prayer was attended by among the others: Fr. Prof. of the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski dr. hab. Grzegorz Bartosik OFMConv – the chair of the Polish Mariological Association, Fr. Waldemar Pastusiak OSPPE – the prior from Brdow, Fr. Melchior Krolik OSPPE – the prefect of the Jubilee father during studies in Krakow on Skalka, Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubis, the chief editor of the Catholic Weekly ‘Niedziela’, the former generals of the Pauline Order: Fr. Jerzy Tomzinski, Fr. Jozef Platek and Fr. Izydor Matuszewski and a big group of priests. The Eucharist was enriched by a musical-vocal band consisting of the Jubilat’s friends, with Alicja Golaszewska, the organist at Jasna Gora at the helm.
From his young years he was impressed by the Pauline Fathers
In his homily Archbishop Waclaw Depo referred to the birthday of the Jubilarian- 16 December 1940 . – He was born as the oldest son of Adam and Jozefa. During baptism he was given the name Szczepan. He was educated in Brdow till the year 1953 and later in the Secondary School in Izbica Kujawska which he finished in 1957. It was a time of struggles for faithfulness to God and Homeland which brought fruits, among the others, as Vows at Jasna Gora in August 1956 and blessing of the Jasna Gora Icon by pope Pius XII onto a peregrination tour in Poland. At that time young Szczepan made a decision about joining the Pauline Order – informed the Archbishop. In an interview which Fr. Zachariasz Jablonski gave to ‘Our Journal’ on the jubilee occasion, said about his vocation in this way: ‘It was being born slowly, in the Catholic family, where cult to Our Lady was very strong. My father – a tour guide – led pilgrimages to Mary’s sanctuaries. As a boy I was also an altar boy. From my youth I was impressed by the Pauline Fathers who in 1952 returned to Brdow after 80 years. It was a difficult time in which the communists were definitely fighting with the Church. Fr. Kajetan Raczynski, the prior of Jasna Gora, was imprisoned as an enemy of communism. I remember how I was emotionally moved by the information heard on the radio that the ceremony which took place on 26 August 1956, when the Poles took Jasna Gora Vows of the Nation, was attended by millions of believers. My parents were among them, too. When I decided to become a Pauline Father, my father approved of my decision, but my mum a little less. She was afraid of who was going to continue the family line….However, I took a risk and left my home. Before leaving, I said to my family: ‘If I do not endure and leave the novitiate, I will not return to you at once. I will not be able to return so quickly’. The family took these words seriously and one evening my father visited me because someone told him I had been seen driving a car. He came immediately to check whether I was in the Order. I was there, so he calmly returned home’. (‘Our Journal’, no. 147, 4989, from 27 June 2014).
I know to whom I entrusted
In the homily archbishop Depo emphasized that the jubilee of the 50th anniversary of priesthood is not only a look at the past, but, first of all, thanksgiving for what is permanent and what grew out thanks to the union with God’s life-giving breath. He said: - Coming to the Paulines’ Order, Fr. Zachariasz was going through various stations of paths of his studies and formations,, through Lesniow, Lesna Podlaska, Krakow-Skalka, in order to enter this Hill of Jasna Gora, looking at restless eyes of Mother and restlessness of Her Heart, pointing to the matters of Son, which we must fulfill through Her intercession. However, he has always been and is still accompanied by the motto of St. Paul the Apostle: ‘I know to whom I entrusted’ (2 Tm 1. 12b) – reminded the metropolitan of Czestochowa. And he quoted the words of Fr. Zachariasz from the quoted interview in ‘Our Journal’, complementing this motto: ‘I was aware that my priesthood is being born from God’s vocation. It is grace and I cannot rely on myself completely. So, I trusted God and I have always tried to maintain this trustfulness through my whole life. I have always prayed for my endurance. I have always been a free man but I was not afraid of the authority. In my youth my parents ran a small shop which was a place of many meetings. My father represented a very explicit attitude, so we experience many police controls. It brought courage into me, I was not afraid of the authority. I felt that the authority must end one day. And, in this way, I have lived till this time. And I regret that the society cannot fully take advantage of freedom which we gained 25 years ago. I always try to refer to the events which are currently taking place. I think that the Church must do it, because it is supposed to serve to the nation in these moments in which something is happening, in the moments which are difficult. I think so. Therefore, when I know that I am going to lead the reflection before the Appeal Prayer at Jasna Gora, I watch the news in order to react to what is happening. I do not get involved in any dispute but I try to show another dimension of an event’.
In the jubilee homily archbishop Depo thanked the Father Professor for his courage and simplicity of his words – not only during the Appeal Prayers of Jasna Gora, but also in various Catholic mass media. He also pointed to particular moments of his entrustment to God and forming consciences through the truth proclaimed in Krakow on Skalka, at the Catholic University of Lublin, at the University of Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski in Warsaw or in the Theological Institute in Radom and at Jasna Gora, where through his statements and publications he brings God’s Mother onto the paths of Europe and the world.
On the testing ground of anti-evangelization
Metropolitan of Czestochowa referred to the words of Fr. Zachariasz Jablonski about the need of actualization of prayers of the Church which are to show another dimension of difficult events and which are even painful; he pointed to the scandal connected with the show ‘Golgotha picnic’ reaching to various Polish cities. He called it a distinct example of not only a worldview fight but also cultural war. He warned that there are attempts to make Poland a kind of a testing ground of anti-evangelization, mixing real freedom with unapologetically freedom and lack of any culture. He quoted the words of cardinal Joseph Ratzinger about art saying that ‘it should serve to beauty, which is an inner light’. Whereas, today as cardinal Ratzinger noted, ‘art is looking for the most important task in order to unmask a man as somebody who arouses abhorrence, as a terrible wicked man…Moreover, it is not directed to discover the truth in order to show its brightness, but to show that the truth is dirty, that dirt is the truth. Such meetings with the truth do not ennoble but humiliate’. Archbishop Depo emphasized that these words of cardinal Ratzinger are painfully returning to us today.
The Metropolitan of Czestochowa expressed his gratitude to God for such people as Fr. Zachariasz – who are steadfast in proclaiming the truth. He emphasized that the jubilee of priesthood is an evidence for the presence of alive God, whose Jubilarian became a confidant through Christ’s grace and named the Father Professor a guard of God’s mysteries. He wished him life devoted to God’s glory and worship to Mary, so that it would bring noble fruits for the good of the Paulines’ Order and whole Poland.
A beautiful testimony of priestly life
– ‘it is worth living for one love’ – this is my pilgrimage and pastoral hit – said the Father Jubilarian in the end of the Holy Mass. – Therefore, I would like to thank God in this spirit, that despite my defects, sins, he has been with me all the time and was patiently helping me in various situations. I thank everyone for a prayer – he said.
On behalf of the Sanctuary of Jasna Gora the Father sub-prior Marian Waligora spoke. – Here, close to the Heart of Mary, we thank for this grain of entrustment, trustfulness to God through Her intercession, which has been developing for so many years and is still developing in the heart of our dear Jubilarian – he said. He thanked for the pastoral ministry of Fr. Zachariasz as a professor, a priest, and, first of all, for every Holy Mass celebrated by him. He particularly thanked for his care about Homeland and the Sanctuary of Jasna Gora, for his love to this place and for his devotion to Mary. In the end of the ceremony, Fr. Waligora gave the Jubilarian a gorget with the image of Our Lady of Jasna Gora from the Paulines’ community; this is the image of Our Lady at which the Father looks every day, submitting intentions of the Church, Homeland and the world as well as our personal matters. And we all thank you for this all.