On December 11 2016, the youth group of the John Paul II Foundation Indonesian Chapter, took 60 children (aged 6 to 10) of Atmabrata Foundation to Kidzania Jakarta, a small recreational park which provides children a safe, unique and very realistic educational environment where kids can role-play of real world professions, such as fireman, doctor, baker, news anchor, shopkeeper, etc. Atmabrata Foundation provides education for the children who come from poor fishermen families, unable to afford education by themselves.
The 60 children were accompanied by 25 volunteers from our Foundation. While role playing, the volunteers would chat, teach and joke around with them. The purpose of this one day trip is to educate the children of what possible future professions out there they can try to pursue in their future. It was a day filled with fun learning and to give the opportunity for the children to have dreams and goals.
We were joyful that we were able to spend time with them, to share the blessings we have received from our Lord and pass what we can to them. It is by giving that we also receive.
On Sunday, December 18, 2016, at the John Paul II Foundation Home in Lublin took place the Christmas Wafer meeting in the Ukrainian language initiated by Mykołaj Myszovsky, currently the editor-in-chief of the Ukrainian version of the Catholic magazine “Credo.” The meeting brought together dozens of people from Ukraine, although students from other countries who wanted to share the joy of this special day were also present. Rev. Oleg Zahruk was the main organizer of the Christmas Wafer meeting “Opłatek.” He was supported by a group of 40 people who were directly involved in the liturgy and preparation of the evening. The meeting began with a Mass celebrated by Rev. Andrii Hano. The homily was delivered by Rev. Oleg Zharuk. The Mass was also concelebrated by Rev. Jan Strzałka.
After the Eucharist, we all went to the hall where the rest of the event took place. At first, an excerpt from the Gospel related to the birth of Jesus was read. Then, Rev. Oleg Zahruk and Rev. Jan Strzałka spoke and wished merry Christmas and happy New Year to all gathered. Later, young people were breaking Christmas wafers and exchanging wishes. That part was followed by a humorous spectacle written by Viktor Buynitskiy.
Christmas wafer meetings at the John Paul II Foundation Home in Lublin which are ongoing for many years and gather many extinguished guests and fellowship recipients are part of the beautiful tradition. This year the Christmas Wafer meeting “Opłatek” took place on December 17 in the afternoon. The event began with a Mass which was celebrated by Archbishop Józef Kowalczyk, the Senior Polish Primate. The Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop of Lvov Mieczysław Mokrzycki, personal secretary of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI; Dr. Hab. Andrzej Kiciński, professor of KUL, Vice-Rector of Students; Fr. Zdzisław Kozioł SCJ, Superior of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in Lublin; Fr. Jan Strzałka, Director of the Home, and priests-fellowship awardees from Belarus, Indonesia, Latvia, and Ukraine. For this beautiful occasion, President of the Warsaw Chapter Mrs. Ewa Bednarkiewicz along with few members of the Chapter came from Warsaw.
At the beginning of the Eucharist, welcome words said Archbishop Stanisław Budzik, of the Archdiocese of Lublin. Archbishop started his speech by recalling the words of the Psalmist: “You God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You my whole being longs for You in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” (Ps. 63) He invited all attendees of the Mass for intense prayers for the deceased layer Maciej Bednarkiewicz, for whom “the advent of His life ended.”
Maranatha, come Jesus Christ!
On Monday, November 28, 2016, morning birds of our Foundation flew to the Chapel of our House to participate in the Advent Dawn Mass (“Roraty.”) According to a tradition, Roraty is a first Mass celebrated in the day at dawn.
Presence of so many young people at this morning Eucharist provides a great testimony that during a day in students’ life which is very busy and full of various responsibilities, they can find a time for God. Especially, that many people had a long way, like for example, girls who are living in the Academic House on Poczekajce. The youngest participant of the Mass, three-years-old Lala, brought a self-handmade Advent lantern.
Rev. Jan Strzałka celebrated the Mass, which was co-celebrated by priests-fellowship recipients from Belarus, Indonesia and Ukraine. Altar boys were helping during the Mass. Fellowship recipients from the fifth year took care of the liturgical side of the Mass. After the Mass, all were invited to the hall for an Advent’s breakfast.
One of the most important dimensions of the fellowship program is the spiritual and religious formation of the awardees. On the Foundation’s Home website you can find description of multiple activities of the Foundation in this regard. It can easily be admitted that young people like to participate in these activities. For example, each fellowship recipient (a priest as well as a lay person) is obligated to participate in a retreat during an academic year. Lay students participate in the 3-day retreat at the Priests of the Sacred Heart Congregation House in Pliszczyn near Lublin, while priests on a multiple occasions experience their spiritual renewal on Saturday’s mornings.