Pain and hope accompanied the attendees of the funeral ceremony of the deceased lawyer Maciej Bednarkiewicz, which took place In Warsaw on November 17th. Among the many faithful, we – management, workers, and fellowship awardees of the John Paul II Foundation in Lublin – were also present.
All attendees experienced pain as we had to say goodbye to the Man with a big heart, indomitable patriot, exquisite lawyer, defender of oppressed under the martial law.
We said goodbye mainly to the long-standing member of the Administrative Council of the John Paul II Foundation in Rome, friend of young people, a father who worried about children who were participating in the Foundation’s fellowship award program for over 20 years.
However, above all we have hope that “the souls of the just are in the hand of God (…) and their hope is full of immortality” (Book of Wisdom 3, 1-3) We are convinced that Mr. Bednarkiewicz already enjoys the joy of heaven and from up there he accompanies us in our pilgrimage to the Father’s House.
On October 29, 2016, the John Paul II Foundation Chicago Chapter hosted at the St. Ferdinand Church His Eminency Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cardinal came with Prelate Sławomir Śledziewski, his personal secretary and Rev. Walter (Ted) Oxley who works for the congregation to bless the figure of St. John Paul II. The figure was donated by Teodozja and Jerzy Fey, members of the Chicago Chapter. The figure was placed in the garden of the Virgin Mary at the Parish of St. Ferdinand. It was made of bronze and cooper by Karol Badyna, artist-sculptor from Krakow. The figure depicts the Pope sitting on the bench and praying Rosary. Next to the Pope there is a place to sit, pray, meditate about his teachings; remember about his intercession. Upon the blessing and solemn mass which was celebrated by Polonia’s priests, a banquet was held to honor the distinguished Guest from Vatican and which was prepared by the Chicago Chapter.
Celebrations of the 35th anniversary of the John Paul II Foundation started on October 21, 2016, the day before the liturgical remembrance of Saint John Paul II. Five hundred individuals from five continents: North America, South America, Australia and Oceania, Asia, and Europe attended the anniversary celebrations. Among attendees there were presidents, members, and benefactors of the John Paul II Foundation Chapters from 19 countries as well as many distinguished guests as Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz, Stanisław Cardinal Ryłko, Kazimierz Cardinal Nycz, Abp Józef Kowalczyk, Abp Petrus Turan, Bp Jan Szkodoń, Bp Petrus Canisius Mandagi as well as 50 priests and many others.
The celebrations began on Friday before noon with the private audience with the Holy Father Francis, who addressed all attendees with the following words:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
XXXV ANNIVERSARY OF THE JOHN PAUL II FOUNDATION
Polish House, October 23, 2016
“Be grateful…” (Col 3,15)
My Dear Members and Friends of the John Paul II Foundation!
We gather together in this beautiful chapel of the Polish House to celebrate the 35the anniversary of our Foundation. The Words of the God, as we heard a few minutes ago, encourages us to celebrate the jubilee in such way. It reminded us that the leading threat of each jubilee is gratefulness. In the first reading, from the Letter to the Colossians, St. Paul encourages us: “With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…” The attitude of thankfulness towards God and people is from end to end a Christian attitude, as in the center of a Christian life is the Eucharist that is thanksgiving. It is worth to remember this in our times, when sometimes it is difficult to say this short, but how important word: thank you…So much we are getting from God! So much we are getting from our neighbor: beginning with our parents…! The Apostle is cautioning us “What do you have that you did not receive?” Are we able to be grateful?
- Homily of Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz at the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome
- Homily by Archbishop Józef Kowalczyk delivered at the Rome’s church Beata Maria Vergina Immaculata
- Holy Father Francis’ speech: To members of the John Paul II Foundation
- Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko welcomes Pope Francis at the 35th Anniversary of the John Paul II Foundation