On Saturday, January 21, 2017 in the sanctuary of St. John Paul II in Krakow, a thanksgiving Mass for the ministry of Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz was celebrated. After over 11 years, Cardinal Dziwisz ends overseeing the Archdiocese of Krakow.
Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz was the 76th bishop in the Cathedral of St. Stanislaus in Krakow. On June 3, 2015, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Dziwisz as the archbishop of Krakow. On June 29th, he received the pallium at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, while on August 27th took place the liturgical ingress to the Wawel’s Cathedral and canonically, Cardinal Dziwisz took over the ministry of the Archdiocese of Krakow. From the hands of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, he also received the cardinal’s hat at the consistory which took place on March 24, 2006. Cardinal Dziwisz took over his titular church in Rome – Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo (the Virgin Mary Popolo) on October 24, 2006. Cardinal Dziwisz was a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education and three pontifical councils: for Social Communications, Laity, and Health Pastoral Cares. He belongs also to the Permanent Councils of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. In 2013, Cardinal Dziwisz participated in the conclave at which Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio SI was elected as the Pope. He hosted two popes in Krakow: Benedict XVI in 2006 and Francis in 2016. Cardinal Dziwisz presided over the work of the committee which was overseeing the World Youth Days organization. For the World Youth Days, more than 2 million young people from over 180 countries from around the world came to Krakow in 2016.
On the initiative of Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, in October 2008, in Krakow on the White Seas, the construction of the “Do not be afraid” Centre and the Sanctuary of St. John Paul II started. The complex was dedicated on October 16, 2016. In the sanctuary are located the relics of the Pope’s blood and cassock with blood marks. St. John Paul II wore that cassock on the day of the attack – May 13, 1981.
Prof. Rev. Edward Staniek, former rector of the Krakow’s seminary, in his homily mentioned several positions which Cardinal Dziwisz held. “He was the right hand of this great God’s actor- said the priest – not only at the time he was preparing documents, but also when he was packing in the backpack: sandwiches and thermos of tea along with sacks to get ready for a hike in the mountains. He was also a doorman at the apartment in Vatican. Opening when somebody was knocking and closing when there was a time to do that… When the bullets wounded the Pope, he slumped in the arms of the papal bodyguard. And, when he hears the request “let me go”, he accompanied the Holy Father in crossing to the eternity.”
Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz also has an invaluable contributions to the John Paul II Foundation and the fellowship program which is part of the Foundation’s activities and which is ongoing in Lublin. As the closest co-worker of the Holy Father, he contributed to the realization of the John Paul II’s desire to implement and provide a fellowship program in Lublin for young people from countries of the former Soviet Union. In subsequent years, Carinal gave all efforts to support and protect this program; in recent years, as a direct Superior of the Foundation. Thanks to the Cardinal the Foundation Home was built in Lublin and fellowship awards are granted annually as well as fellowship awardees are going on a pilgrimage to Rome.
Many times, the Archbishop of Krakow was visiting the Foundation’s Home in Lublin, each time offering unique memorabilia of St. John Paul II. Relic of the blood of St. John Paul II was a very special gift from the Secretary of John Paul II for the chapel and students. The relic was brought by Cardinal Dziwisz on December 18, 2013.
Hence, it was a natural call of the heart that representatives of the Foundation were present at the thanksgiving Mass in Krakow. The Rome delegation was represented by Fr. Krzysztof Wieliczko, Administrator of the Foundation; the Warsaw delegation was represented by Ewa Bednarkiewicz – president of the John Paul II Foundation Warsaw Chapter; while, the delegation from Lublin was represented by Rev. Jan Strzałka, director of the John Paul II Foundation Home.
Management, employees and fellowship awardees of the John Paul II Foundation during a Mass that is scheduled to be celebrated at the Foundation’s Home Chapel on Sunday January 29th at 11 a.m. will give thanks to Cardinal Dziwisz for all what they received and ask for continues blessing.
Rev. Jan Strzałka SCJ