‘THE APOSTLE OF THE WEEKLY ‘SUNDAY’ PASSED AWAY
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
On Sunday, the 10th of June 2012 we received the news about the death of the prelate priest Marian Wiewiorowski, a parish priest of the parish church of under the invocation of Bishop St. Nicholas in Gomulin. It was very shocking information to me. On 18 May this year we still met at home of the Grey Ursulines Sisters in Lodz at a meeting of people who had been born on the birthday of Pope John Paul II. After the Holy Mass celebrated by Bishop Adam Lepa in the parish church, in the nuns’ garden, a community of believers met at the birthday party. Parish Priest from Gomulin and pupils of schools from there and parishioners arrived, too. Children and youth presented songs, dances, music and we were impressed and emotionally moved, and their pastor – Fr. Marian Wiewiorowski was also glad. The meeting was taking place in a warm-heartedly and nice atmosphere. I still hear a quiet and very friendly voice of Fr. Marian in my ears when I invited him to the editorial office of ‘Sunday’, as well as his students, for an occasional meeting. And suddenly – he is not in this world any longer – he passed away to the eternity...He was approaching his death very consciously and he used to say about it loudly. We did not expect that it would come so quickly. I sometimes wondered what would happen when one day Fr. Marian would go away from the parish because his 75th birthday was coming, that is, his retirement time. He did not live up till the Jubilee celebration of the 50th anniversary of his priesthood which was being prepared by his parishioners very carefully because they loved their priest and wanted the celebrations to be as most beautiful as possible. Let me express some personal remembrances about this wonderful pastor. I still remember him from the times when he was a parish priest of the parish of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Lodz. It was the time when he used to invite me, the editor of the ‘Sunday’, as well as – today the late Bishop Bohdan Bejze, so that we would during Divine service tell about the ‘Sunday’, about the importance of reading Catholic newspapers. I experienced a warm-hearted and friendly atmosphere which was in this parish, I got to know about a big subscription of the ‘Sunday’ – in a number of over thousand issues weekly. Once Fr. Marian confessed to me that now when people read the ‘Sunday’, he has a common language with them and he found his pastoral visits much better at their homes. He promoted the ‘Sunday’ with conviction.
Later Fr. Wiewiorowski was moved to the village parish of St. Nicholas in Gomulin and quite a long silence fell down. He must have been absorbed with work in the new parish. But after some time, in an interview, Bishop Adam Lepa mentioned his beautiful work, and also his efforts to make the ‘Sunday’ enter into families in the parish. Later I found out that in fact in this parish of 2000 believers 384 issues of our weekly sold out. We decided t honour the Parish Priest, giving him and his parish an occasional Mater Verbi medal and a Sursum Corda statue as the recognition and gratitude for his great engagement in the promotion of the Catholic newspaper. Fr. Marian arrived at this ceremony with a delegation of parishioners who turned out to be wonderful readers of the ‘Sunday’. They knew the weekly nearly wholly and it was possible to have a very interesting and substantial conversation with them. I admired their care about knowing and reading the newspaper and I saw how they cared about the distribution of the ‘Sunday’. They used to tell about distributing the newspaper in their parish. About 40 distributors worked in it, and among them there was also a boy in a wheelchair who distributed 4 issues of the newspaper. I found out that readers paid a fee for the weekly on one day a month. Those who have more, pay for those who cannot afford paying for the newspaper. Fr. Marian emphasized that that there had always been enough money for settling payments. So, everything was carefully thought over and the announcements about the ‘Sunday’ were addressed to the man with great love and the knowledge of things. The parish priest read the ‘Sunday’ himself and therefore he could easily encourage others to read it.
On 6 January this year on the Day of Lord’s Revelation, we arrived in Gomulin with the delegation of the ‘Sunday’ to the invitation of prelate priest Wiewiorowski. On the occasion of the jubilee of the 50th anniversary of my priesthood we were given a wonderful party. After the solemn concelebrated Holy Mass we took part in a special artistic program prepared by children and school youth, but first of all, we experienced great friendliness and warm-heartedness, what is experienced in a lively family community.
The parish priest invited also many famous people, among the others, President Ryszard Kaczorowski, prelate priest Waldemar Kulbat, an editor of Lodz edition of the ‘Sunday’ was a frequent guest in Gomulin. He invited people of theatre to the parish – among the others the theatre ‘Mirror’ from Lodz with beautiful plays. Everybody who used to come to Gomulin for the first time, wanted to return there quickly in order to meet with the wonderful Parish Priest again and wonderful parishioners.
The parish priest cared about the development of the parish life, about the Christian culture and also about the national consciousness and he was a great patriot. He received national awards, among the others, the Medal Pro Memoria, given ‘for prominent merits in strengthening the memory about people and actions in the fight for the independence of Poland during the Second World War and after its ending’. It was a great man and great parish priest.
We must state proudly that in our small parishes we sometimes have real heroes and people of the highest ideas whose hands we should kiss with the highest respect. Prelate priest Marian Wiewiorowski belonged to such people; humble, modest, friendly, devoted to God and people and caring about pupils, about schools and their functioning. He did not have a private life, and there was nothing which would serve only to him. Maybe because of that he did not care enough about his health – he simply did not have time for it. But he set many things in their right places anyway, and he cared about such important things in the parish...
In one of the interviews he confessed: - I based my pastoral work on the ‘Sunday’. I find everything in it, which is taught by the Holy Father and the pastors of the Church, material concerning the life of the Christians, and also those persecuted in the world, moral tips for the social and political life. I have also patriotic material in it. It is difficult not to base pastoral work on the newspaper which is connected with the Bishop, diocese, the general Church and the Church in Poland...It was a very important experience to me – but also a task: how to formulate the texts of the Catholic weekly better, more accurately and more interesting, so that they would serve to pastoral work and pastors more. I also recollected the voice of the founder of the ‘Sunday’ – Bishop Teodor Kubina who used to say that our newspaper is supposed to be a vicar of the parish priest. The prelate priest Marian Wiewiorowski from the parish in Gomulin showed it through his example the best.
Today, agitated by the news about his death, I am wondering what will be with the parish in Gomulin after the departure of its wonderful parish priest and a real apostle of the ‘Sunday’. Certainly, we entrust everything to God’s wisdom and the action of the Holy Spirit but one thing is certain: we must not forget about such a pastor because he served to God, the Church and people in an extremely life and specific way and in the Catholic newspaper he found a friend and an important co-operator in the pastoral work, which will help both the elderly and the young to get to Christ and build happiness in their homeland.