Fr. Jerzy Banak talks with Fr. Kazimierz Frankiewicz OFMConv, a guardian of the Sepulcher in Jerusalem, about an exceptional initiative which is celebrating the Holy Mass for Homeland in the most important place for Christianity

FR. JERZY BANAK: – Father Kazimierz, You are an initiator of the Holy Masses for Homeland every month at the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. How did you think about the initiative?

FR. KAZIMIERZ FRANKIEWICZ OFMConv: – My first though appeared in 2005 when Lech Kaczyński was elected the president of the Polish Republic. I felt that this presidency had to be supported with a constant prayer. I admit that facing the intensified hostile propaganda towards the late president, I did not have any determination and did not continue the matter. Today I really regret it. So, when on the Pentecost Day Andrzej Duda was elected president, I decided not to stop supporting presidency with prayer. I understood that it was simply a miracle and a gift from our Mother and Queen. After all, the day of 24 May is the day of Mary, on which we call her as our Help of Believers. Therefore in September 2015 we began celebrating the Holy Mass for Homeland and the president at the Sepulcher every month. For, I believe – like most Poles- - that the condition of further changes is a fervent, steadfast and universal prayer for Homeland which will be undertaken by the nation, all Poles – wherever they are.

– The first Holy Mass for Homeland was celebrated on the day of inauguration of presidency symbolically on the Tabor Hill – the Hill of Transfiguration. Other Holy Masses take place in Jerusalem, don’t they?

– Yes, they do. It seemed important to me to renew these Holy Masses for Homeland and the president on the sixth day every month. Organizing this monthly prayer I met with great friendliness and help of co-brothers Franciscans working on the Holy Land, especially Fr. Tomasz Dubiela and Fr. Zacheusz Drążek. The monthly Holy Masses are celebrated in the Basilica of Sepulcher: either on Calvary or in the very Sepulcher. The co-celebration is joined to be other priests working or studying in Jerusalem, as long as a situation allows them to. More and more often priests join it, who arrive with pilgrims. The Holy Mass is celebrated at 7 o’clock. Certainly, the Holy Masses are attended by Polish nuns serving on the Holy Land, volunteers and other local believers. There would surely be more people if the information about this initiative was more widespread.

– Are Father’s fruits of the initiative visible after a year?

– Certainly, not all God’s graces can be seen with a bare eye. They are known only to God. Here we feel after a year of prayers for Homeland, the president and the government that connection of Poland with this place is taking on a special dimension.
Poles living and working on the Holy Land pray for the Homeland in this particular place, which is the most important for the whole Christianity. This deep relation of Poland with the centre of our faith is somehow confirmed by the great work of Polish artists and donors from Poland, which is the first multimedia exhibition about the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher in history.
It is Poland where such needed help for pilgrims from all over the world is organized. It will help them understand and experience events which became a turning point in Jerusalem in the human history. We think that this is grace and distinction for Poles, that they have a possibility to create something exceptional which will serve to a deeper understanding our faith through everybody who want to arrive at this place.
Monthly Holy Masses strengthen and develop our Polish presence on the Holy Land. They have not only religious but also patriotic dimension. This initiative is very popular. A lot of pilgrims from all over the world get to know about it. So far only Poland has had a permanent Holy Mass in the most important place of Christianity. What draws attention is also the fact that it gathers more and more participants.

– Thanks to the idea and engagement of Father, ‘the Polish matter’ in Jerusalem was particularly accentuated.

– Yes, every month there are more and more praying people. A appeal to organizers of pilgrimages to include a prayer and the Holy Mass at the Sepulcher on the sixth day every month in their itinerary. Can there be a more beautiful moment for the Polish heart and soul than praying together for Homeland in the place of Christ’s Resurrection? Let Poland be resurrected with Christ all the time, in order to be inspiration for nations, the sparkle which will attract the world more onto God’s roads.


„Niedziela” 45/2016

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