Streams of Divine Mercy have flowed out
Here is a source which is flowing onto the whole world! – said Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, the host of the Second World Congress of Divine Mercy. There were 500 people, mostly volunteers, engaged in organizing this great event in Kraków-Łagiewniki; residents of the city prepared 600 accommodations for less rich guests. Church services, conferences and testimonies took place in the shrine of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki but the program also included, among the others, evangelism on the Market Square in Kraków, meetings in parishes and also a silence march with the prayer for peace in the world in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and also ecumenical church service in the Pope’s Wadowice.
On 1-5 October this year, the Second World Congress of Divine Mercy was held in Kraków, attended by about 2 thousand people from 68 countries. The patrons were St. s. Faustyna Kowalska and Blessed John Paul II.
Welcome to Poland!
Black-skinned Mary from the Caribbean accompanied by Anna and John from Great Britain and 2 other women are walking along the street of St. s Faustyna towards the shrine. Going behind them I hear how a woman living in an exotic country is complaining loudly in English, that nobody greets them in the street nor says: ‘Welcome’. She may not know that it is a working day and people are busy and, besides that, Poles are not as spontaneous as residents of the hot Caribbean... but wanting to cheer her up, I come up to her to say aloud and with smile cordially: ‘Welcome’ and ‘Good morning’. The woman cheered up. She asks if I am from Poland. When I confirm, she answers that she greeted people passing in the street many times but they did not answer her at all. I notice that it is certainly because she does not speak Polish. So she learns to say ‘Good morning’ what she manages to check on men raking leaves near the shrine. However, she cannot count on their smile. – We, Poles, are rather serious in the first contact – I explain it to the nice lady from the Caribbean, trying to sweeten her contact with the different mentality of the Europeans.
The poor but rich with mercy
Anna is a woman in the middle age, one of 47 pilgrims from Great Britain. When met before the Eucharist, she willingly takes a cordial dialogue. She notices that poorer nations accept faith and the message about Divine Mercy with greater enthusiasm. She says that in her country most people concentrate on what is material. It is confirmed by her compatriot Samuel. However, she adds that it is getting worse in their country when it comes to the financial situation. When I ask why Samuel has come to Łagiewniki he says that because of his wife who attended this first congress in Rome 3 years ago. They have not had any holiday together this year. So they decided that his wife would participate in lectures and he would visit Kraków. It ended up in that he participates in the congress as well. He says that in his opinion the most explorative thing is to do the good and do the charity work but first you should experience Divine Mercy yourself.
The prayer of the United Nations
It is nice to look at the Africans’ colourful clothes with prints of Merciful Jesus. Magnificent dresses of Korean women are also imposing. It is great to hear that a black-skinned bishop from Nigeria Martin Uzoukwu proclaims his words to the congregated literally in flying colours, citing a popular song in those times: ‘Good morning Lord Jesus’. Maybe you would even like to hear, see or feel what each nation has brought.
Szymon, a tourist guide in Wieliczka Salt Mine, sharing his impressions of the congress says that he is moved by the experience of the universality of the Church. – So many nations have gathered in one place and for the same purpose: in order to pray together! –the boy expresses his joy. The same joy of ‘the unity in diversity’ is shared by a priest coming to Kraków from Spanish Cordoba. A parishioner from his village adds that she is impressed with the picture of Merciful Jesus. She is moved that she can be in the chapel of Sisters of Our Merciful Lady and also by the fact that she is on the land of John Paul II, in the place where he was baptized, studied, worked as a blue-collar worker, fulfilled his priest’s ministry...
Cardinals and priests from the Philippines are also touched by this fact. They do not hide their gratitude for the fact that our Compatriot gave the world the cult of Divine Mercy. They tell proudly that many TV and radio stations broadcast Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3pm in their country and people are willing to say this prayer. Learning about Divine Mercy makes it easy for Catholic priests to contact with Islam believers for whom the idea of mercy is also very close: - We hope that we will convert them, of course, through a prayer’ – the priests from the Philippines add with a sincere smile. Whereas the aforementioned residents of Cordoba say that they often say the prayer which St. Faustyna wrote in her ‘Diary’ (n. 163 –ed.) – request for merciful eyes, ears, hands, legs, heart... They really liked the lecture by s. M. Gaudii Skass ZMBM addressed to a Spanish-speaking group: ‘Be merciful in the unmerciful world - the testimony of St. Faustyna’s life’. In the beginning, the lecturer noted that the change of the world begins from the change of oneself and then the nearest environment. She was reflecting on the successive invocations of the mentioned prayer. She said that s. Faustyna had a great influence on others through her example: not criticism but love.
Children of Mercy
During the congress we could also see young people – they were helping with the organization as volunteers, although only some of them took part in the program. There was a numerous group of the members of the international Community Cenacolo (‘The Upper Room’ in Italian), founded by s. Elwira Petrozzi, also present at the meeting. Seeing this sister with her extraordinary smile, many people came up to her, asking for her blessing. The 74-year-old Italian nun saved thousands of young people – the contemporary ‘lepers’: drug-addicts, children of the street. The survivors say about her ‘Mother’.
The community Cenacolo invited people from Kraków and participants of the congress for an exceptional spectacle. The former drug-addicts told a story which is a subject of our ‘Credo’ – from the creation of the world till the Resurrection. They played the roles of the characters from the Bible in order to tell us that this history is still going on. – I am like Judas a little, who betrays Jesus and like an angel a bit who says that the Saviour was born – admits Lena from Serbia who played the role of a bride from the wedding in Cana and an angel who was dancing above a cave in Bethlehem. Lena is 29 years old and joined the community 8 years ago. The former drug-addict is now an ‘angel’ for girls with similar problems. At present she lives in Venice in one of the houses of the community. The person playing the role of Jesus is a Pole. Łukasz is 29 years old and has got a beautiful face, friendly eyes, straight nose and cheeks grown with thick beard which he has kept for this role. He was also drug-addicted a few years ago. Today he is full of life.
And what is next?
The Africans from Congo and Rwanda are the first to leave a very impressive evening on the Market Square in Kraków, and find it hard to withstand the cold of the October aura. They are hurrying to the House for Tourists, wearing hats and colourful clothes. They say that it is cold in Poland but they are smiling - they still have strength to smile!
The audience has already gone. The boys from Cenacolo are just dismantling the stage setting – it is going to take them the whole night. Among the structure scaffoldings Łukasz is moving swiftly, with the trace of unwashed makeup imitating blood trickle on the calves of his legs...
And on the other side of the Market Square, behind of the Cloth Hall, there are young people dressed in black, among whom there is a slim girl with eyes underlined with dark colour. She is smoking a cigarette, shaking and looking away nervously. At the Szewska Street which is famous for youth clubs, disco music is flowing, young beaters from the venues of entertainments are standing with fliers among whom is a teenager in mini-skirt and a blouse with a deep neckline. She must be cold but she is standing in front of the club and is working...
And here this thought is born: there is no time to be neuter or average. Hunger which we have in our hearts demands food from Merciful Heart of God. And then we are supposed to go with Him to the others because people experience God through the man.... through our merciful eyes, ears, heart....