A holy Mass was celebrated at the tomb of John Paul II for the Polish government delegation participating in the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino.
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the victorious battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, anniversary ceremonies were held, in which delegations from Poland also participated. Among them was a delegation of the Polish government along with several senators and deputies. It included, among others, ministers: family, labor and social policy – Elżbieta Rafalska, national defense – Mariusz Błaszczak, as well as internal affairs and administration – Joachim Brudziński.
Before departure to the cemetery at Monte Cassino, on Saturday at noon, the delegation participated in the Mass at the tomb of Saint John Paul II to celebrate the 99th anniversary of the birth of Karol Wojtyła.
Archbishop Jan Romeo Pawłowski, the head of the third section of the Secretariat of State for the diplomatic staff of the Holy See celebrated the Eucharist. At the end of the Mass the beloved song “Barka,” was sung in honor of the Pope, after which the delegation laid flowers at his tomb.
Here is the homily of Archbishop Pawłowski:
“A passer-by, tell Poland that we have fallen faithful in its service.” These words written in the cemetery at Monte Cassino have a special meaning over there. And, on these days they sound in our hearts. And here they have even more special meaning when we are at the tomb of the Holy Pope, a saint Pole who to the same Poland – over there in Poland and here, in the Vatican – served and burned himself out, until he finally fell faithful in this service.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s good that you came here on the way to the Monte Cassino celebrations; that you who are now in the service of Poland, came here to kneel and pray at the tomb of John Paul II. Today, when we remember and celebrate the 75th anniversary of the victory at Monte Cassino and we are celebrating also the 99th birthday of Karol Wojtyła. Isn’t that special that when a Polish soldier spilled blood and won at Monte Cassino, Karol celebrated his 24th birthday and prepared himself for priesthood in Poland which was occupied?
Thus, it is good that you are here and it is good, that together with the President of the Republic of Poland and with the President of Italy you will go there, to the cemetery, where maybe you will see only a few red poppies, but certainly a lot of Polish blood that soaked in this Italian, European land in the highest sacrifice of young Poles. They created Poland there, let me say more, they created Europe, how it was created by John Paul II, even, and perhaps especially when he warned that it, Europe, needs healthy, solid, and Christian roots.
It was not the poppies that were supposed to grow from the Polish blood, it was Poland that was supposed to grow, with its worthy place in Europe. It was Europe that was supposed to grow with Poland, which was never outside Europe, even when it was not on the maps. And thanks to God, today it exists that our Fatherland is a European country, with all the rights and duties that are connected with it!
God, honor, Fatherland – Since 1943 such values the Polish soldier chose for his motto. How eloquent and meaningful it is. Perhaps it is worth reminding it in these days?
There are such impressions that instead of enjoying freedom, instead of creating a national community, instead of getting along and discussing, but creatively, the Poles have divided themselves. Maybe because they and we forgot this motto: God, honor, Fatherland? Maybe they and we need to find God, Who is so often put a side, as if He was ‘in the way’.
It may be necessary to remember in all political parties, in all social groups, that every man must have his/her honor, he/she cannot sell him or herself, he/she cannot betray his/her human dignity.
And they and we need to remember what the Homeland is. These young Poles who died at Monte Cassino belonged to different social environments, confessed different religions, probably had different political views, but they had Poland in their hearts and minds, that’s why they fought for Poland here, together, shoulder to shoulder, above divisions and differences. Nobody would dare to mock them, just like mocking is forbidden today: we are not allowed to mock those who are proud of being Poles who cultivate healthy patriotism.
In the poem “Thinking Fatherland”, Karol Wojtyła posed such an important question: Can history flow against the current of consciences? You need more conscience, a healthy conscience; I would say Polish conscience in creating a history that is created in our everyday life.
Therefore, let Poland, which today comes in your distinguished persons, to celebrate those who dies in its service, let them tell all Poles: enough, let us not be wary! Let us start to create together, let us serve together, let us be united by this call: God, honor, Fatherland. It is possible, just take the first step, and just put your hand to reconciliation.
Let us pray in this intention to the Resurrected Christ, who today in the Gospel once again assured us: “For whatever you ask me, in my name, I will do it.” That it would not be too late. Let us not build such a Poland, such a Europe, such a world that will turn out to be a nice but sad home, without permanent foundations.
May Mary, Queen of Poland, pray for this intention, let Saint John Paul II pray in that intention to alond with all those who truly created and fought for Poland, regardless of their beliefs, political affiliation or religion. Maybe right now it is necessary for the power of reconciliation to flow from the Italian land to Poland: Lord, bless our free Fatherland! Amen.
Text: Włodzimierz Rędzioch