John Paul II set his foot on the Polish land and immediately the history changed. And he, thinking that probably for the last time he sees his homeland, decided to bring to people a message of hope and from that place to raise a voice, asking Warsaw and Moscow, to respect the legitimate aspirations of the people and the nation who was exposed to so much suffering. The trip took place. However, it caused an ‘earthquake’ in Soviet empire; a true ‘earthquake’. I remember this trip as if it happened today. I recall especially that day, the first day in Warsaw. It was the eve of Pentecost. I heard the prayer of the Holy Father and I asked myself, how God could not listen to this great call: “Let your Spirit descend. Let your Spirit descend. And renew the face of the earth, the face of this land.” Gniezno was the next stop during this trip. John Paul II appealed in defense of the Slavic nations, their rights to freedom. He saw a banner in the crowd in the Czech language: “Holy Father, remember about your Czech children” and he started to improvise: “This Pope who carries in him the Wojciech’s legacy, cannot forget those children.” Simple words, but these words wanted to ensure that the persecuted Church in the communist countries holds a special place in his heart.
Then, there was Częstochowa followed by Auschiwtz; a moment of pain, remembrance of this unimaginable tragedy. And finally, there was Kraków, and the appeal to all Poles to be strong with the strength that comes from faith. “Never lose your trust, do not be defeated, do not be discouraged; do not on your own cut yourselves off from the roots from which we had our origins.” This alone gave people a feeling of high self-esteem, self-dignity, responsibility and it weakened the influence of communist authority. In a way, it speeded up the process on the path leading to freedom, to social and political changes.
With the consent of Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz – “At the side of the Saint”