S. John Paul II Homil. 1022
12 June 1999
1. “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lc 1,45).
Once again in the course of our pilgrimage across Poland we meet Mary. It is a special gift of God’s grace that precisely here in Zamosc, where for generations Mary has been venerated in the Cathedral Shrine under the title of Mother of Divine Protection, we should celebrate a kind of second moment of the Solemnity of her Immaculate Heart. In today’s Liturgy we meet Mary of the Visitation. The journey she made after the Annunciation is well known: from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea, where her kinswoman Elizabeth lived. Mary goes to help Elizabeth while she prepares for motherhood. She journeys along the roads of her land carrying in her womb the supreme mystery.
We read in the Gospel that the revelation of this mystery took place in an extraordinary way. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Lc 1,42); with these words Elizabeth greets Mary. “And why is this granted to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lc 1,43). Elizabeth already knows God’s plan and that which, at this moment, is a mystery between Mary and herself. She knows that her son, John the Baptist, is to prepare the way of the Lord. He is to become the herald of the Messiah, whom the Virgin of Nazareth has conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. The meeting of the two mothers, Elizabeth and Mary, precedes these future events and in a sense prepares them. Blessed are you who believed in the word of God who announces to you the birth of the Redeemer of the world, says Elizabeth. And Mary replies with the words of the Magnificat: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour” (Lc 1,46-47). Truly the great works of God, the great mysteries of God come to pass in hiddenness, in the house of Zechariah. The whole Church will constantly recall them and will repeat with Elizabeth: “Blessed is she who believed”, and, together with Mary, the Church will sing the Magnificat.
1023 The event which took place in the land of Judah is inexpressibly mysterious. Behold, God came into the world. He became man. By the power of the Holy Spirit he was conceived in the womb of the Virgin of Nazareth, and would be born in the stable of Bethlehem. But before all this comes to pass, Mary carries Jesus, as every mother carries her child in her womb. She carries not only his human life, but also his entire mystery, the mystery of the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world. So Mary’s visit to the home of Elizabeth is in a sense both something ordinary and at the same time a unique, extraordinary and unrepeatable event.
With Mary comes the Eternal Word, the Son of God. He comes to be present in our midst. Just as during those days the time before his birth had linked him to Nazareth and then to Judea, where Elizabeth lived, and then once for all to the little town of Bethlehem, where he was to come into the world, so now too, his every visit always links him to another place on earth, wherever his presence is celebrated in the Liturgy.
2. Today we read the Gospel of the Visitation in the land of Zamosc. The mystery of the coming of Mary and her Son becomes, in a way, ours too. How pleased I am to be able to celebrate this mystery with you in the community of the Diocese of Zamosc-Labaczów! It is a young Diocese, but one with a very rich religious and cultural tradition going back to the sixteenth century. Here, from the beginning, there have been close contacts with the Apostolic See: a special fruit of these is the celebrated Academy of Zamosc, the third after those of Kraków and Wilno, an academic institution in the Republic of Poland founded with the support of Pope Clement VIII. The Collegiate Church of Zamosc, which I had the honour to raise to the dignity of a Cathedral, is a silent but extremely eloquent witness of the heritage of past centuries. It houses not only magnificent monuments of architecture and religious art, but also the remains of those who shaped this great tradition. Today, as I visit this beautiful city and the land of Zamosc, I am happy to be able to return to this centuries-old treasury of our faith and culture.
I cordially greet all the faithful gathered here and those who are with us in spirit. I greet the Pastor of this community, Bishop Jan, with his Auxiliary Bishop Mariusz and all the priests and consecrated men and women. My greeting also goes to the representatives of the State and local Authorities. I wish to express my particular gratitude to those who are accompanying my pilgrimage by their prayers and by the offering of their suffering. I pray God that they may share in the graces of this visit.
3. The providential setting of the scene of Mary’s Visitation within this exceptionally beautiful city and land reminds me of the Biblical story of creation, which receives its explanation and its fulfilment in the mystery of the Incarnation. During the days of creation God looked at his handiwork and saw that what he had made was good. It could not be otherwise. The harmony of nature reflected the utter perfection of the Creator. Finally, God created man. He created him in his own image and likeness. He entrusted to him the magnificence of the world so that, by enjoying it and using its goods in a free and rational way, he would cooperate actively in bringing God’s work to perfection. The Scripture says that at that time “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gn 1,31). But after man’s original fall, the world – as his particular property – came in a sense to share his lot. Sin not only broke the bond of love between man and God and destroyed the unity of mankind, but it also disturbed the harmony of all creation. The shadow of death came down not only on the human race but also on everything that by God’s will was meant to exist for man.
But if we speak of the world sharing in the effects of human sin, we also know that it too could not be deprived of a share in the divine promise of the Redemption. The time for the fulfilment of this promise for mankind and for all creation arrived when Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit, became the Mother of the Son of God. He is the firstborn of creation (cf. Col Col 1,15). Everything created was eternally in him. In coming to the world, he comes into what is his, as Saint John says (cf. Jn Jn 1,11). He comes in order to embrace creation anew, to begin the work of the world’s redemption, to restore to creation its original holiness and dignity. He comes to make us see, by his very coming, the particular dignity which belongs to created nature.
As I make my way across Poland, from the Baltic, through Great Poland, Mazovia, Warmia and Masuria, and then the eastern regions – from the region of Bialystok to that of Zamosc – I contemplate the beauty of this, my native country, and I am reminded of this particular aspect of the saving mission of the Son of God. Here, the blue of the sky, the green of the woods and fields, the silver of the lakes and rivers, all seem to speak with exceptional power. Here the song of the birds sounds so very familiar, so Polish. And all this testifies to the love of the Creator, the life-giving power of his Spirit and the redemption accomplished by the Son for man and for the world. All these creatures bespeak their holiness and dignity, regained when the One who was “the firstborn of all creation” took flesh from the Virgin Mary.
If today I speak of this holiness and dignity, I do so in a spirit of thankfulness to God, who has done such great things for us; but I do so likewise in a spirit of concern for the preservation of the goodness and beauty bestowed by the Creator. For there is a danger that everything that brings such joy to the eye and such exultation to the spirit can be destroyed. I know that the Polish Bishops voiced this concern ten years ago, appealing to all people of good will in a Pastoral Letter on the protection of the environment. They rightly wrote that “all man’s activity, as the activity of a responsible agent, has a moral dimension. Destruction of the environment harms the good of creation given to man by God the Creator as something indispensable for his life and his development. We have a duty to make good use of this gift in a spirit of gratitude and respect. The realization that this gift is destined for all men, that it is a common good, also gives rise to a corresponding duty with regard to others. We therefore need to realize that every action which ignores God’s rights over his world, as well as the rights of man bestowed upon him by the Creator, is in conflict with the commandment of love . . . We need to realize therefore that there can be a grave sin against the natural environment, one which weighs on our consciences, and which calls for grave responsibility towards God the Creator” (2 May 1989).
In speaking of responsibility before God, we know that it is not just a matter of what is nowadays called ecology. It is not enough to seek the cause of the world’s destruction only in excessive industrialization, uncritical applications in industry and agriculture of scientific and technological advances, or in an unbridled pursuit of wealth without concern for the future effects of all these actions. Although it cannot be denied that these actions do cause great harm, it is easy to see that their source is deeper: it lies in man’s very attitude. It appears that what is most dangerous for creation and for man is lack of respect for the laws of nature and the disappearance of a sense of the value of life.
The law written by God in nature and capable of being read by reason leads to respect for the Creator’s plan, a plan which is meant for the benefit of mankind. This law establishes a certain inner order which man discovers and which he must preserve. Any activity in conflict with this order inevitably does damage to man himself.
This happens when the sense of the value of life as such, and of human life in particular, disappears. How can nature be effectively defended if justification is claimed for acts which strike at the very heart of creation, which is human life? Is it really possible to oppose the destruction of the environment while allowing, in the name of comfort and convenience, the slaughter of the unborn and the procured death of the elderly and the infirm, and the carrying out, in the name of progress, of unacceptable interventions and forms of experimentation at the very beginning of human life? When the good of science or economic interests prevail over the good of the person, and ultimately of whole societies, environmental destruction is a sign of a real contempt for man. All who have at heart the good of man in this world need to bear constant witness to the fact that “respect for life, and above all for the dignity of the human person, is the ultimate guiding norm for any sound economic, industrial or scientific progress” (Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, No. 7)
1024 4. “All things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together . . . For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or heaven, making peace by the blood of his Cross” (Col 1,16-17,19). These words of Saint Paul seem to describe the Christian way to defend that good which is the whole created world. It is the way of reconciliation in Christ. Through the blood of his Cross and through his Resurrection, Christ has restored to creation its original order. Henceforth the whole world, with man at its centre, has been snatched from the slavery of death and corruption (cf. Rom Rm 8,21) and in a certain sense has been created anew (cf. Rev Ap 21,5); it now exists no longer for death but for life, for new life in Christ. Thanks to his union with Christ, man rediscovers his proper place in the world. In Christ he experiences anew that original harmony which existed between Creator, creation and man before man succumbed to the effects of sin. In Christ man re-reads his original call to subdue the earth, which is the continuation of God’s work of creation rather than the unbridled exploitation of creation.
The beauty of this land leads me to appeal its preservation for future generations. If you love our native land, do not let this appeal go unanswered! In a special way I call upon those who have been entrusted with responsibility for this country and its development, and I urge them not to neglect their duty of protecting it against environmental destruction. Let them devise programmes for the protection of the environment and ensure that they are properly put into effect! Above all, let them train people to show respect for the common good, for the laws of nature and of life! May the be supported by organizations which work for the protection of natural resources! In the family and in the schools there must be training in respect for life, goodness and beauty. All people of good will should cooperate in this great task. All followers of Christ ought to examine their own life-style, to ensure that the legitimate pursuit of prosperity does not suppress the voice of conscience which judges what is right and what is truly good.
5. In speaking of respect for the land, I cannot forget those who are most closely linked to it and know its value and dignity. I think of the farm-workers who, not only here in Zamosc but throughout Poland, perform the hard work in the fields, making them yield the products essential for the life of those living in the cities and villages. Only those who till the land can really testify that the barren earth does not produce fruit, but when cared for lovingly it is a generous provider. With gratitude and respect I bow before those who for centuries have made this land fruitful by the sweat of their brow, and who – when it was necessary to defend it – did not spare even their blood. With the same gratitude and respect I also speak to all who today are engaged in the hard work of tilling the land. May God bless the work of your hands!
I know that at a time of social and economic changes there are many problems which often painfully affect the Polish countryside. The process of reform needs to recognize the problems of farm-workers and resolve them in the spirit of social justice.
I speak of this in the land of Zamosc, where the rural question has been discussed for centuries. We need only recall the works of Szymon Szymonowic, or the work of the Rural Society founded in Hrubieszów two hundred years ago. Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, as Bishop of this area and later Primate of Poland, often mentioned the importance of farming for the Nation and the State, and the need for all social groups to show solidarity with the rural communities. Today I cannot fail to take up this tradition. I do so by repeating with the Prophet these words filled with hope: “As the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations” (Is 61,11).
6. Let us look to Mary and invoke her in the words of Elizabeth: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lc 1,45).
Blessed are you, Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. Today we entrust to you the destiny of the land of Zamosc, of the Polish countryside and of all who live and work there, carrying out the Creator’s command to subdue it. Guide us with your faith in this new era which is opening up before us. Be with us together with your Son, Jesus Christ, who wishes to be for us the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.
Sunday, 13 June 1999
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5,7)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1025 1. I stop to reflect on the words of this beatitude of Christ as I continue my pilgrim journey among you, faithful people of Warsaw. I warmly greet all gathered here, the priests, men and women religious and lay faithful. I extend fraternal greetings to the Bishops, especially to the Cardinal Primate and the auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Warsaw. I greet the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the President of the Senate and the President of the Diet, the representatives of State and local Authorities and invited guests.
I give thinks to Divine Providence that I am able to be present here again, where twenty years ago, at the memorable Pentecost Vigil, we experienced in a special way the mystery of the Upper Room. Together with the Primate of the Millennium, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, with the Bishops and the People of God of the capital present in great numbers, we made an ardent invocation on that occasion for the gift of the Holy Spirit. In those difficult times, we asked that his power might be poured into the hearts of men and women, and that hope might be stirred in them. It was a cry which arose from the faith that God is active and that, with the power of the Holy Spirit, he renews and sanctifies all things. It was a supplication for a renewal of the face of the earth, of this land. How can we fail to thank the Triune God today for all that in the course of the last twenty years we see as his response to that cry! Is not all that happened at that time in Europe and the world, beginning with our own homeland, God’s response? Before our eyes, changes of political, social and economic systems have taken place, enabling individuals and nations to see anew the splendour of their own dignity. Truth and justice are recovering their proper value, becoming a challenge for all those who are able to appreciate the gift of freedom. For this we give thanks to God, looking towards the future with confidence.
We especially give glory to him for what has happened in the life of the Church during these twenty years. In thanksgiving, therefore, we join with the Churches of the Western and Eastern tradition, with our neighbouring peoples who have emerged from the catacombs and are openly carrying out their mission. Their vitality is a magnificent witness to the power of Christ’s grace which enables weak men to become capable of heroism, frequently to the point of martyrdom. Is this not the fruit of the activity of the Holy Spirit? Is it not thanks to this breath of the Spirit in our most recent history that today we have the unique opportunity to experience the universality of the Church and our responsibility to bear witness to Christ and to proclaim his Gospel “to the ends of the earth”?
In the light of the Holy Spirit the Church in Poland rereads the signs of the times and takes up her duties free from the external limitations and pressures which were experienced up to a short time ago. How can we not give thanks to God today for the fact that the Church is now able to engage in a creative dialogue with the world of culture and knowledge in a spirit of mutual respect and love! How can we not give thanks for the fact that the faithful can approach the sacraments unhindered and can listen to the word of God in order to be able to bear witness openly to their faith! How can we not give glory to God for the many churches recently built in our country! How can we not give thanks that children and young people can come to know Christ in the tranquility of school, where the presence of a priest, a nun or a catechist is seen as a precious help in the work of educating the younger generation! How can we not give praise to God, who with his Spirit enlivens church communities, associations and movements, inspiring ever wider groups of laity to embark on the mission of evangelization!
During my first pilgrimage to our homeland, when I was in this place, I became intensely mindful of the prayer of the Psalmist:
“O Lord, remember me out of the love you have for your people.
Come to me, Lord, with your help
that I may see the joy of your chosen ones
and may rejoice in the gladness of your nation
and share the glory of your people” (106:4-5).
Today, as I look back over the last twenty years of this century, I am reminded of the exhortation of the same Psalm:
1026 “O give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love endures for ever.
Who can tell the Lord’s mighty deeds?
Who can recount all his praises?
Blessed be the Lord . . .
For ever, from age to age” (106:1-2, 48).
2. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5,7). This Sunday’s liturgy gives our thanksgiving a particular aspect. It enables us to see all that is going on in the history of this generation from the perspective of God’s eternal mercy, which was revealed more fully in the saving work of Christ. Christ “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Rm 4,25). The Paschal mystery of the Death and Resurrection of the Son of God has given a new direction to human history. Though we see in this history the painful signs of the action of evil, we are certain that in the end evil will not prevail over the fate of man and the world. This certainty arises from faith in the mercy of the Father “who has so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3,16). Hence today, as Saint Paul points to the faith of Abraham: “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God” (Rm 4,20), we are able to discern the source of this strength, thanks to which not even the most difficult trials were able to separate us from the love of God.
Faith in divine mercy made it possible for hope to endure in us. This hope did not concern social rebirth alone, or merely the restoration of dignity to man in the different world contexts. Our hope penetrates far deeper: it is directed in fact to the divine promises which go far beyond temporal realities. Its definitive object is the sharing in the fruits of the saving work of Christ. This can be reckoned to us as justice, if we “believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord” (Rm 4,24). Only the hope which comes from faith in the Resurrection can inspire us to give a worthy response in our daily lives to God’s infinite love. Only with such hope can we go out to the “sick” (Mt 9,12) and be apostles of God’s healing love. Twenty years ago I said that “Poland has become in our time a land of particularly responsible witness” (Homily in Victory Square, 2 June 1979). Today, it must be added that this should be a witness of active mercy built on faith in the Resurrection. Only this kind of witness is a sign of hope for contemporary man, especially for the younger generations; and if for some it is also a “sign of contradiction”, this contradiction never distracts us from fidelity to the Crucified and Risen Christ.
3. “Omnipotens aeterne Deus, qui per glorificationem Sanctorum novissima dilectionis tuae nobis argumenta largiris, concede propitius, ut, ad Unigenitum tuum fideliter imitandum, et ipsorum intercessione commendemur, et incitemur exemplo”. This is the Church’s prayer as she remembers the Saints in the Eucharist: “Ever-living God, the signs of your love are manifest in the honour you give your Saints. May their prayers and their example encourage us to follow your Son more faithfully” (Common of Holy Men and Women, Opening Prayer). We raise this invocation also today, as we admire the testimony given by the Blessed who have just been raised to the glory of the altars. The living faith, unshakeable hope and generous love are reckoned to them as justice, because they were profoundly rooted in the Paschal mystery of Christ. Rightly, then, we ask to follow Christ faithfully, according to their example.
Blessed Regina Protmann, Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Catherine, a native of Braniewo, dedicated herself with all her heart to the work of renewal of the Church at the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth centuries. She engaged in this activity, which arose from her love for Christ above all things, after the Council of Trent. She took an active part in the post-conciliar reform of the Church, carrying out a humble work of mercy with great generosity. She founded a Congregation, which united contemplation of the mysteries of God with the care of the sick in their homes and the instruction of young children and older girls. She gave particular attention to the pastoral care of women. With no thought of herself, Blessed Regina looked to the needs of the people and the Church, meeting them with foresight. The words “As God wills” became the motto of her life. Ardent love urged her to fulfil the Heavenly Father’s will, following the example of the Son of God. She did not shrink from the cross of daily service in giving witness to the Risen Christ.
The apostolate of mercy also filled the life of Blessed Edmund Bojanowski. Despite delicate health, this landowner from Wielkopolska, endowed with many talents and a particular depth of religious life by God, undertook and inspired a vast activity on behalf of the rural population, with perseverance, prudence and generosity of heart. Guided by a discernment that was very sensitive to people’s needs, he launched numerous educational, charitable, cultural and religious works aimed at the material and moral support of the rural family. He remained in the lay state and founded the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Holy and Immaculate Virgin, which is well-known in Poland. He was inspired in every initiative by the desire that everyone should have a share in the Redemption. He is remembered as a good man with a big heart, who for love of God and neighbour was able to bring different sectors together, effectively rallying them around a common good. In his many-faceted activity, he anticipated much of what the Second Vatican Council said about the apostolate of the laity. His was an exceptional example of generous and industrious work for man, the homeland and the Church. The work of Blessed Edmund Bojanowski is continued by the Handmaids, whom I warmly greet and thank for their silent service, filled with the spirit of sacrifice on behalf of their neighbour and the Church.
1027 4. “Munire digneris me, Domine Iesu Christe . . ., signo sacratissimae Crucis tuae: ac concedere digneris mihi . . . ut, sicut hanc Crucem, Sanctorum tuorum reliquiis refertam, ante pectus meum teneo, sic semper mente retineam et memoriam passionis, et sanctorum victorias Martyrum: this is the prayer recited by the Bishop as he puts on the pectoral cross. Today I make of this invocation the prayer of the entire Church in Poland which, bearing for a thousand years the marks of the Passion of Christ, is constantly regenerated by the seed of the blood of the martyrs and draws life from the memory of their victory on earth.
Today we are celebrating the victory of those who, in our time, gave their lives for Christ, in order to possess life forever in his glory. This victory has a special character, since it was shared by clergy and laity alike, by young people and old, by people from different classes and states. Among them are Archbishop Antoni Julian Nowowiejski, Pastor of the Diocese of Plock, tortured to death at Dzialdowo; Bishop Wladyslaw Goral of Lublin, tortured with particular hatred simply because he was a Catholic Bishop. There are diocesan and religious priests who died because they chose not to abandon their ministry and because they continued to serve their fellow prisoners who were sick with typhus; some were tortured to death because they defended Jews. In the group of Blessed there are religious brothers and sisters who persevered in the service of charity and in offering their torments for their neighbour. Among the blessed martyrs there are also lay people. There are five young people formed in the Salesian oratory; a zealous activist of Catholic Action, a lay catechist tortured to death for his service and an heroic woman, who give up her own life in exchange for that of her daughter-in-law who was with child. These blessed martyrs are today inscribed in the history of holiness of the People of God on pilgrimage for over a thousand years in the land of Poland.
If we rejoice today for the beatification of one hundred and eight martyrs, clergy and lay people, we do so above all because they bear witness to the victory of Christ, the gift which restores hope. As we carry out this solemn act, there is in a way rekindled in us the certainty that, independently of the circumstances, we can achieve complete victory in all things through the One who has loved us (cf. Rom Rm 8,37). The blessed martyrs cry to our hearts: Believe in God who is love! Believe in him in good times and bad! Awaken hope! May it produce in you the fruit of fidelity to God in every trial!
5. Rejoice, Poland, for the new Blessed: Regina Protmann, Edmund Bojanowski and the 108 Martyrs. It pleased God “to show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness” towards your sons and daughters in Jesus Christ (cf. Eph Ep 2,7). This is “the richness of his grace”, this is the foundation of our unshakeable confidence in the saving presence of God along the paths of man in the Third Millennium! To him be the glory for ever and ever.
13 June 1999
1. “They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Ac 2,42).
The Evangelist Luke, who also wrote the Acts of the Apostles, introduces us to the life of the first community in Jerusalem with the description we have just heard. It has now become a community comforted by the descent of the Holy Spirit, after Pentecost. Elsewhere Saint Luke writes, “The company of those who believed were of one heart and soul” (Ac 4,32). The Acts of the Apostles show how in the holy city of Jerusalem, touched by the recent events of Easter, the Church was coming to birth. From the very beginning, the young Church “persevered in the brotherhood”, that is, it formed a communion strengthened by the grace of the Holy Spirit. And thus it remains even to this day. In his Paschal Mystery, Jesus Christ is the heart of this community. He ensures that the Church lives, grows and takes shape like a body “joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly” (Ep 4,16).
Dear Brothers and Sisters, in this spirit of unity, in the name of Jesus Christ, I cordially greet all of you who are gathered for this Liturgy of the Word. I greet the young Diocese of Warszawa-Praga with its Pastor, Bishop Kazimierz, I greet the Bishop Emeritus, the Auxiliary Bishop, the priests, men and women religious and all the People of God of this Church, and also those who through radio and television are sharing with us in this gathering of prayer. In a special way, I wish to greet the sick, who through their sufferings bring spiritual benefits upon the Church.
A short time ago I visited a place which is especially important in our national history. The memory of the Battle of Warsaw, fought near here in August 1920, is still fresh in our hearts. It was a great victory by the Polish Army, a victory so great that it could not be explained in purely natural terms and was therefore called “the Miracle on the Vistula”. Fervent prayer by the nation preceded the victory. The Polish Bishops, gathered at Jasna Góra, consecrated the whole nation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and entrusted it to the protection of Mary, Queen of Poland. We think today of all those who, at Radzymin and in many other places of this historic battle, gave their lives in defence of our homeland and its endangered freedom. Among others, we remember the heroic priest Ignacy Skorupka, who lost his life not far from here, at Ossów. We commend their souls to the Divine Mercy. For decades, silence surrounded “the Miracle on the Vistula”. Today, in a certain sense, Divine Providence assigns to the new Diocese of Warszawa-Praga the task of preserving the memory of this great event in the history of our nation and the whole of Europe, which took place on the eastern side of Warsaw.
S. John Paul II Homil. 1022