A MISSION OF THE UNIVERSITY
In Łódź and in a conference and retreat centre of the archdiocese of Łódź in Porszewice, on 16-19 April 2015, there were debates of the congress of the Commission for Catechesis, School and University functioning for the European Episcopal Conference Council. The debates were on: ‘Being and becoming responsible for life’. The congress was attended by representatives from 27 countries: bishops and archbishops representing local Churches in the European Episcopal Conference Council, professors of universities from Poland and university centres of Europe and the world, students and academic priests from Poland and Europe.
On the first day of debates, the participants of the congress were welcomed by: archbishop Marek Jędraszewski – the metropolitan of Łódź, a vice-chairperson of the Polish Episcopal Conference, a delegate of the Polish Episcopal Conference for academic pastoral ministry, the chairperson of the Commission for Catechesis, School and University of the European Episcopal Conference Council, archbishop Celestino Migliore – an apostolic nuncio in Poland, prof. Stanisław Bielecki – a rector of the Polytechnics in Łódź, a vice-chairperson of the Polish Schools Academic Rectors Conference and Hanna Zdanowska – the president of Łódź. The debates were presided over by Fr. Michel Remery, a general vice-secretary of the European Episcopal Conference Council. Academic pastoral ministry in the perspective of humankind development was discussed by cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the former prefect of the Catholic Education Congregation, and a program report ‘Being and becoming responsible for life’ was given by Lucia Volonte – a reporter for many years, holding a function of the chairperson of the Group of European People’s Party in the Parliamentary Congregation of the Europe Council, engaged for the sake of family, conscience opposition and religion freedom. Participants of the congress also met with students and priests in the headquarter of the Academic Pastoral Ministry of the Archdiocese of Łódź. The first day of the debates ended with the Holy Mass in the arch-cathedral of Łódź, presided over by archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, the metropolitan of Poznań and the chairperson of the Polish Episcopal Conference.
Next days of the congress were full of: prayers, lectures, students and priests’ testimonies and work in groups. The topic of the congress in the context of reference to one’s person, a relationship with another man and in reference to God was presented by academic employees representing European universities. The lecture ‘My life’ was given by prof. Kaja Kaźmierska from the university in Łódź. Prof. Paul van Geest from the University in Tilburg (Holland) spoke about responsibility, love and charity ministry. Archbishop Jean – Claude Hollerich from Luxembourg, professor and a vice-rector of the Sophia University in Tokyo, touched on the issue: ‘Faith which penetrates life’. This issue, in the context of a doctor’s vocation was presented also by the rector of the Medical University in Łódź prof. Paweł Górski. During a plenary meeting, the introduction was done by Father Leon O’Giollain SJ, a Secretary of the Commission for Catechesis, School and University of the European Episcopal Conference Council.
– The Congress ‘Being and becoming responsible for life’ is held in a particular time – said archbishop Jędraszewski to participants. – It has already been 20 years since the Holy Father John Paul II published one of his most important documents, the encyclical “Evangelium Vitae’, that is, ‘The Gospel of Life’ – the source of steadfast hope and real freedom for people of every epoch. This is the Gospel of God’s love to the man, the Gospel of human dignity. A lot has changed for these 20 years. Dangers against human life became stronger, so, consciousness of the Church and its responsibility must develop, so that the testimony of the Church would grow in the world, especially in Europe, ‘people for life’. Consciousness ‘for life’ must develop where the heart of the contemporary culture is developing, so at universities – the metropolitan of Łódź emphasizes.
In the end of the congress, in the basilica of the cathedral, the Holy Mass was presided over by cardinal Zenon Grocholewski.