S. John Paul II Homil. 1028
1028 Speaking of the tradition of these regions, I would also like to recall the Servant of God Father Ignacy Klopotowski, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Loreto. In the last years of his life, he was Parish Priest at the Church of Saint Florian, now the Cathedral of this Diocese. With the love of the Good Samaritan, he cared for the poor and homeless. For this purpose he brought from Kraków the spiritual sons and daughters of Saint Brother Albert. Here he dedicated himself to the apostolate of the word of God through publishing. In this region was born our great poet of the Romantic period, Cyprian Norwid, who in his works often makes tender mention of his childhood and the years of his youth spent in these parts.
I salute you, beloved land of Masovia, with your rich religious tradition and your glorious history.
2. “Before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (Jn 13,1).
To understand God’s plan for the Church, we must go back to what happened on the eve of the Passion and Death of Christ. We must go back to the Upper Room in Jerusalem. The reading from John’s Gospel takes us precisely to the Upper Room, to Holy Thursday: “Before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end”. This “to the end” seems to bear witness here to the absolute character of this love. Following upon the Gospel’s account, it is Jesus himself who explains in detail the nature of this love, when he begins to wash the feet of his disciples. With this gesture, he shows that he has come into the world “not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mc 10,45). Jesus presents himself as a model of this love: “I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (Jn 13,15). To those who believe in him, he teaches the love of which he himself is the model and entrusts this love to them, wanting it to grow like a great tree over the whole earth.
Yet this “to the end” was not accomplished in the humble gesture of washing feet. It was fully accomplished only when “Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, 'Take and eat; this is my body'. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, 'Take and drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the new and eternal Covenant, which will be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins'” (cf. Mt Mt 26,26-28).
Here is the total gift. Before offering his life on the Cross for the salvation of man, the Son of God offered it sacramentally. He gives his Body and Blood to the disciples, so that, in consuming them, they may share in the fruits of his saving Death. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15,13). Christ left the Apostles this sacramental sign of love. He said to them: “Do this in memory of me” (cf. 1Co 11,24). The Apostles did this and, passing on the Gospel to their disciples, they passed on the Eucharist as well. From the Last Supper onwards, the Church has been built and formed through the Eucharist. The Church celebrates the Eucharist and the Eucharist forms the Church. This has always been the case wherever new generations of Christ’s disciples gradually became the Church. This has always been the case on Polish soil too, and so it is today, as we approach the threshold of the third millennium: to those who will come after us, we pass on the Gospel and the Eucharist.
3. “They devoted themselves to the . . . breaking of bread and the prayers” (Ac 2,42).
The first Christian community, which Luke presents in the Acts of the Apostles as an example for us, drew strength from the Eucharist. The celebration of the Eucharist is most important for the Church and for her individual members. It is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium, LG 11). Saint Augustine calls it “the bond of love” (In Evangelium Iohannis Tractatus, 26, 6, 13). As we read in the Acts of the Apostles, this “bond of love” was from the first a source of unity in the community of Christ’s disciples. From it there sprang care for the needy brethren so that from the community’s goods “they distributed to all, as any had need” (cf. Acts Ac 2,45). It was a wellspring of joy, of simplicity of heart, and mutual kindness. Thanks to this Eucharistic “bond of love”, the community could live united, attend the Temple and praise God with a single heart (cf. Acts Ac 2,46-47), and all of this was a witness which the world could read: “The Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Ac 2,47).
The unity in love which springs from the Eucharist is not only an expression of human solidarity, but is a sharing in the very love of God. Upon this unity the Church is built. It is this which determines the success of her saving mission.
“I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (Jn 13,15). These words of Christ contain a great challenge for the Church, for all of us who make up the Church – for the Bishops, the priests, the religious men and women and for the lay faithful: to bear witness to this love, make it visible and put it into practice every day. Today the world needs this witness of love, unity and perseverance in community so that, as Christ said, people “might see your good works and give glory to the Father who is in heaven” (cf. Mt Mt 5,16). Here, it is a question primarily of unity within the Church on the model of the unity of the Son with the Father in the gift of the Holy Spirit. “The whole Church”, says Saint Cyprian, “appears as a people made one by the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. All believers bring to this community their own contribution, their own talents, according to the vocation and role which is theirs to fulfil. Unity in variety is a great richness of the Church which ensures that she grows constantly and dynamically. In a spirit of great responsibility to Christ who is ceaselessly present in the Church, we strive to accomplish this unity for the good of the whole community.
This is why the Church attributes such great importance to sharing in the Eucharist, especially on the Lord’s Day, that is, Sunday, when we celebrate the memorial of the Resurrection of Christ. In the Church in Poland devotion to the Eucharist was always intense, as was the people’s fidelity to attendance at Sunday Mass. On the threshold of the third millennium, I ask all my fellow Poles: hold fast to this good tradition. Respect the commandment of God about keeping the Lord’s Day holy. May it truly be the first of all days and the first of all feasts. Express your love for Christ and the brethren by sharing in the Sunday banquet of the New Covenant – the Eucharist.
1029 In a special way I appeal to parents, to support and encourage the beautiful Christian custom of going to Mass with their children. May the sense of this duty always live in the hearts of children and young people. May the grace of love which we obtain when we receive the Eucharistic Bread strengthen the bonds of the family. May it become for the Christian family a source of apostolic energy.
I also appeal to you, dear Brothers in the priesthood: enkindle in human hearts devotion and love for the Eucharist. Show what a great boon for the whole Church is this sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord – the sacrament of love and unity. In your diocesan and religious communities, stay united in prayer. Remain faithful to the breaking of the bread, grow stronger in Eucharistic life and develop yourselves spiritually in the presence of the Eucharist. The Eucharist “is the chief and central raison d’ętre of the sacrament of the Priesthood. Therefore the priest is united to the Eucharist in a singular and exceptional way. He is in a certain way 'from the Eucharist' and 'for the Eucharist'. He is also responsible for the Eucharist in a special way. The faithful expect from the priest a particular witness of reverence and love for the Eucharist, so that they too may be able to draw strength and life from it” (cf. On the Mystery and Worship of the Most Holy Eucharist, 2).
4. It is surprising how the Church, developing in time and space, thanks to the Gospel and the Eucharist, remains herself. We can say this even when we look at the history of the Church from the outside, but it is experienced especially from the within. This is the experience of all those who celebrate the Eucharist and of those who share in it. It is the memorial and renewal of the Last Supper. And the Last Supper made sacramentally present the Passion and Death of Christ on the Cross – the sacrifice of Redemption.
We proclaim your Death, Lord Jesus; we declare your Resurrection and, one in the love which comes from you, we await your Coming in glory. Amen.
14 June 1999
1. “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ga 1,3).
With the words of the Apostle Paul I warmly greet all who have gathered here for this Eucharist. I am grateful to Divine Providence for the grace of this meeting. Before this altar and in your midst, I wish to be one with all who have come here, as well as with those who gather around their priests every day in church, bearing witness to their faith, hope and love. In the Eucharist Christ has revealed in the most perfect way God’s infinite love for man: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15,13).
I greet the young Church of Lowicz, together with its Pastor, Bishop Alojzy, and Auxiliary Bishop Józef. I also greet the diocesan and religious clergy, the religious brothers and sisters and all the faithful of this Diocese, and in a special way the many children and young people gathered here. I greet the pilgrims who have come for this meeting from the neighbouring Archdioceses of Warsaw and Lódz, as well as from the Dioceses of Plock and Wloclawek, together with their Pastors, and the pilgrims who have come from other parts of Poland and from abroad.
I greet you, land of Lowicz, with your rich history. It was in fact here, in the city of Lowicz, that for centuries the Archbishops of Gniezno, Primates of Poland, lived. Many of them found their place of eternal repose in the crypt of the ancient collegiate church of Lowicz, now the Cathedral.
I greet you, land of Blessed Maria Franciszka Siedliska, foundress of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth; land of Blessed Boleslawa Lament, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family. Here, through the efforts of Father Stanislaw Konarski, the reform of the Scolopian schools took place. From history we know how important this was in the period of the Polish Enlightenment, and what great fruits of this reform were gathered by the generations of Poles living under the partitions.
1030 I greet you, land so abundantly rich in Christian tradition and in the faith of your people, which despite the storms of history has always persevered, unchanged, beside Christ and his Church.
2. “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ep 4,1).
Saint Paul writes this in the Letter to the Ephesians. Today the same words could be addressed to us, his fellow countrymen, by Bishop Michal Kozal, a prisoner in the concentration camp at Dachau. Today is the liturgical memorial of this faithful witness to Christ. The grace which God gave him “was not in vain” (cf. 1Co 15,10) and continues to bear fruit today. Blessed Bishop Kozal exhorts us to behave in a manner worthy of our human and Christian vocation, as sons and daughters of this land, the same homeland of which he was a son. Saint Paul shows the greatness of this vocation. We are members of the Body of Christ, the Church, which he instituted and of which he is the Head. In this Church the Holy Spirit continually distributes the gifts necessary for various services and tasks. These make up the great richness of the Church and serve the good of all.
Recalling these words, I think especially of you, dear parents. God has given you a special vocation. To preserve human life on earth, he instituted the family. You are the first guardians and protectors of the life which has not yet come into the world but is already conceived. Accept the gift of life as the greatest grace of God, as his blessing for the family, for the nation and for the Church. Here, from this place, I say to all the fathers and mothers of my homeland and of the whole world, to all men and women without exception: every child conceived in the womb of its mother has the right to life! I repeat once again what I have already said many times: “Human life is sacred. No one, in any circumstance, can claim the right to directly destroy an innocent human life. God is the absolute Lord of the life of man, made in his image and likeness (cf. Gn Gn 1,26-28). Human life is thus given a sacred and inviolable character, which reflects the inviolability of the Creator himself” (cf. Evangelium Vitae EV 53). God protects life with the firm prohibition proclaimed on Sinai: “You shall not kill” (Ex 20,13). Remain faithful to this commandment. Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, Primate of the Millennium, once said “We wish to be a nation of the living, not of the dead”.
The family is also called upon to educate its children. The first place where the educational process of a young person begins is the family home. All children have the natural, inalienable right to have their own family, parents, brothers and sisters, among whom they come to the realization that they are a persons needing love and capable of loving others. May the Holy Family of Nazareth always be the example for you, the family in which Christ grew up with his mother Mary and putative father Joseph. Since parents give life to their own children, they have the right to be recognized as the first and principal educators. They also have the duty to create a family atmosphere, filled with love and respect for God and neighbour, which favours the personal and social education of their children. What a great task the mother has! Thanks to the particularly deep bond which unites her to her child, she can draw her child close to Christ and the Church in an effective way. However, she always expects the help of her husband, the father of the family.
Dear parents, you know well that in these days it is not easy to create the Christian conditions necessary for educating children. You must do everything to ensure that God is present and honoured in your families. Do not forget daily family prayer, especially in the evening, keeping Sunday holy and going to Sunday Mass. You are your children’s first teachers of prayer and Christian virtue, and no one can take your place in this. Observe religious customs and cultivate Christian tradition, teach your children to respect everyone. May your greatest desire be to educate the younger generation in union with Christ and the Church. Only in this way will you be faithful to your vocation as parents and provide for your children’s spiritual needs.
3. In this responsible duty of education, the family must receive assistance. It needs help and expects it from the Church and the State. It is not a matter of replacing the family in its duties but of harmoniously uniting everyone in this great task.
I therefore speak to you, my brother priests, and to all who are involved in catechesis: open wide the doors of the Church so that everyone, and in particular the young, can draw abundantly upon and profit from her enormous spiritual wealth. In our country today, the Church can teach religion in the schools without hindrance. The times of struggle for freedom of catechesis are past. Many of us know what sacrifices and what courage this cost Catholic society in Poland. One of the wrongs done to the faithful in the times of the totalitarian system has been righted.
The teaching of religion in the schools, which is a great good, requires sincere and responsible commitment. We should make the best possible use of this good. Thanks to catechesis, the Church can carry out her own evangelizing activity with still greater efficiency and in this way widen the scope of her mission.
I also speak to you, dear teachers and educators. You have taken on the great task of handing on knowledge and education to the children and young people entrusted to you. You are faced with a difficult and serious call. Young people need you. They look for models as points of reference. They expect answers to the many questions of life which trouble their minds and hearts, and in a special way they demand from you an example of how to live. You must be their friends, faithful companions and allies in the struggles of youth. Help them to build the foundations for their future.
I am pleased that in Poland many new Catholic schools are being established. This is a sign that the Church is present in a practical way in the area of education. These schools are to be supported, and conditions must be created to enable them to contribute to the common good of society in cooperation with the entire educational world in Poland.
1031 Particular sensitivity is needed on the part of all those involved in schools in order to create the climate for friendly and open dialogue. A spirit of familiarity and mutual respect should prevail in all schools; this was and is characteristic of the Polish school. The school should be a source of the social virtues which our country so greatly needs. Such a climate needs to contribute to enabling children and young people to declare their religious convictions openly and behave in accordance with them. Let us seek to develop and strengthen in the hearts of children and young people patriotic feeling and a bond with the homeland. Let us seek to make them aware of the common good of the nation and teach them a sense of responsibility for the future. The education of the younger generation in a spirit of love for the homeland is of great importance for the future of the nation. In fact, it is not possible to serve the nation well without knowing its history, its rich tradition and its culture. Poland needs people open to the world, who love their own country.
Dear teachers and educators, I wish to express to you my appreciation for your efforts in the education of young people. I warmly thank you for this particularly important and difficult work. I thank you for your service to the country. I myself owe a personal debt of gratitude to schools, and to my teachers and educators, whom I remember to this day and for whom I pray every day. What I received in my school years continues to bear fruit in my life today.
May the good of the younger generation be the concern of your life and educational work. Saint Paul says: “I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling . . . for building up the body of Christ” (Ep 4,1). Could there be a vocation greater than the one God has given to you?
4. “Grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Ep 4,7). Saint Paul teaches us today and at the same time reminds us that grace is the gift by which God gives us his life, making us his children and partakers of his nature. The question therefore arises: how should I live, so that the power of God’s grace will be manifest in me in the fullest possible way, like the mysterious power of a grain of wheat which produces a hundredfold?
Dear boys and girls, pupils of the primary and secondary schools of the Diocese of Lowicz and the neighbouring Dioceses, and also from other parts of Poland: it is good that you are here today. I am very happy to have this meeting. What you have just heard concerns you and your education in a special way. I want to assure you: the Pope loves you very much and has your future very much at heart, so that you will prepare yourselves well for the tasks which await you.
You know that we are coming close to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. In this regard, many of you are probably asking: the new millennium which is about to arrive, what will it be like? Will it be better than the one which is about to end? Will it bring important and positive changes for the world, or will it be the same as before? I want to tell to that to a great extent the future of the world, of our country and of the Church depends on you. You will be the ones to shape it, on you depends the great task of building up the times which are coming. Now you understand why I first spoke so much about the education of the young.
Do not be afraid to follow the path of your vocation, do not be afraid to seek the truth about yourselves and the world around you. How much I would like you all to have in your homes an atmosphere of real love! God has given you your parents and for this great gift you should often thank him. Respect and love your parents. They brought you into the world and they are educating you. Your parents are in fact your dearest friends, and you should seek their help and advice in the problems of your lives. At this moment I think with sadness and great concern about all those young people of your own age who do not have a family home, who are deprived of the love and warmth of parents. Tell them that the Pope remembers them in his prayers and that he wishes them very well.
Your age is the most profitable time of life for sowing and preparing the ground for future harvests. The more you commit yourselves to your duties, the more efficiently you will carry out your mission in the future. Devote yourselves to your studies with great enthusiasm. Learn to know new things. Knowledge opens new horizons and helps man’s spiritual growth. The person who always wants to learn something new is truly great.
Youth seeks models and examples. Christ himself comes to your aid, he who dedicated his entire life to the good of others. Look to him. May he be present in your thoughts, in your games and in your conversations. You should always live in friendship with him. The Lord Jesus wishes to help you. He wishes to be your support and to strengthen you in your youthful struggles in order to attain the virtues such as faith, love, honesty, purity and generosity. When you have to face some difficulty, when you experience lack of success or disappointment in your life, may your thoughts go straight to Christ, who loves you and helps you to overcome every difficulty. Know that you are not alone. At your side there is someone who will never disappoint you. Christ understands the most secret desires of your heart. He awaits your love and your witness.
5. “You have one teacher and you are all brethren” (Mt 23,8).
Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us turn our hearts to Christ, “the true light that enlightens every man” (cf. Jn Jn 1,9). He is the Teacher, the Risen One who has life in himself and who remains ever present in the Church and the world. It is he who reveals to us the will of the Father and who teaches us how to live out the vocation which we have received from God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us entrust to Christ the great work of education. Only he fully knows man and knows what is hidden in the depths of the human heart. Today Christ says to us: “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15,5) – I, your Teacher, I wish to be your way and your light, your life and truth “always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28,20). Amen.
1032 Monday, 14 June 1999
1. Beloved Brothers and Sisters! I give thanks to Divine Providence that the young Diocese of Sosnowiec is part of my pilgrimage through our homeland. I wanted to visit this region. I very much wanted to meet the People of God of Zaglebie, and today my wish is granted. I thank Bishop Adam and Auxiliary Bishop Piotr and the whole local community of the Church for the invitation and the warm welcome. I cordially greet the visiting Bishops, the priests, the religious, the representatives of the local authorities and all the faithful gathered here and those who are with us spiritually.
Today’s meeting reminds me of the celebrations which we held here at Sosnowiec in May 1967. In the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – the present Cathedral – with the participation of the Primate of the Millennium and other Polish Bishops, we celebrated the millennium. Those were difficult times. Difficult especially for those who wanted to profess their faith and their membership in the Church openly. I remember what great meaning the teaching of the recently concluded Second Vatican Council had at that time. I recall the great hope and strength that was brought particularly by the Council’s teaching on the dignity of the human person and his inalienable rights. It reached deep into souls prepared for the millennium by the great novena. Today times have changed. This is a great gift of Divine Providence. We owe to God our gratitude for all that he has done in our homeland. May thanksgiving rise always in the hearts of believers in Poland!
2. “O praise the Lord, all you nations,
acclaim him all you peoples!
Strong is his love for us;
he is faithful for ever” (Ps 116,1-2)
With these words, the Psalmist exhorts all nations to praise God. The Chosen People had a particular reason for praise. Moses says: “The Lord your God has blessed you in all the works of your hands; he knows your going through this great wilderness; these forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you lacked nothing” (Dt 2,7). In a sense, all the peoples and nations of the earth shared in this journeying of Israel. Although few periods of history – because of the exceptional population shifts that took place then, especially in continental Europe – are known as “times of a great exodus of peoples”, the fact is that even when life is settled man never ceases to be a pilgrim, and nations are always journeying in space and time.
The pilgrimage of the history of each nation leaves as a legacy the fruit of human work. At the dawn of history, God entrusted the earth to men, so that they might subdue it (cf. Gen Gn 1,28). Man found the earth to be a terrain needing to be ordered creatively. Gradually he transformed it, giving it a new face. He began to cultivate it, to build upon it, creating settlements, villages, cities. Thus man showed that he was a being in the likeness of God, a being to whom had been given the capacity not only to know the truth but also to create beauty.
As we approach the year 2000, we look back upon all the different phases of this journey made through the centuries by our forebears. They have left us a great heritage of creative work which today fills us with admiration and gratitude. Their hard toil and the works of past generations are a challenge for us to continue to rule over this land which the Creator has given to us as a possession and a task.
Accepting the invitation of the ages, we cannot forget the divine perspective of sharing in the work of creation, which confers upon all human effort true meaning and dignity. Without this perspective, work can easily lose its subjective dimension. When this happens, the man who does the work is no longer important, and all that matters is the material worth of what is produced. Man is no longer regarded as a craftsman, as one who creates, but as an instrument of production.
1033 It seems that in this time of necessary economic changes in our country, signs of such a danger have appeared. Two years ago, I spoke of this at Legnica. Because of the laws of the market, human rights are forgotten; this happens in varying degrees all over the world. It happens, for example, when the claim is made that economic profit justifies taking away the job of someone who loses not only a job but every prospect for maintaining himself or the family. It also happens when, to increase production, the worker is denied the right to rest, the right to care for the family, or the freedom to plan his daily life. This is always the case when the value of work is defined not according to human effort, but according to the price of the product – which creates a situation where the pay does not correspond to the work that is done.
Yet it must also be said that this concerns not only employers but also employees. The one who accepts a job can also give in to the temptation to treat it as an object, as no more than a source of material enrichment. The job can dominate a man’s life to the point where he no longer notices his need to look after his health, the development of his personality, the happiness of his loved ones or in the end his relationship with God.
I mention this today in order to awaken consciences. The structures of the State and the economy have an influence on attitudes towards work, but the dignity of work depends upon the human conscience. It is here that it is given its ultimate value. In the conscience the voice of the Creator is heard incessantly, a voice pointing to what is the true good for man and the world entrusted to him. Those who have lost the right judgement of conscience can transform the blessing of work into a curse.
Wisdom is needed to discover ever anew the supernatural dimension of work, given as a task to man by the Creator. A correctly formed conscience is needed to discern the absolute value of one’s work. A spirit of sacrifice is needed lest our own humanity and the happiness of others are lost on the altar of well- being.
3. “By the labour of your hands you shall eat; you will be happy and prosper” (Ps 127,2). I pray to God with all my heart that these words of the Psalm will become today and always a message of hope for all those in Zaglebie, in Poland and throughout the world who take up the daily task of subduing the earth. I pray still more fervently that these words will bring hope to the hearts of those who very much want to work but have the misfortune to be unemployed. I pray to God that the economic development of our country and of other countries in the world may proceed in such a way that all people – as Saint Paul says – may “work in quietness and . . . earn their own living” (2Th 3,12). I raise my voice in saying this because I want you to realize – I want every worker in this country to know – that the Pope and the Church are interested in your problems.
4. “The Lord your God has blessed you in all the works of your hands; he knows your going through this great wilderness” (Dt 2,7) – for centuries the Church has borne these words of the Book of Deuteronomy as a message of hope. If man can discern in the work of his hands the sign of God’s blessing, he will have no doubt that this same God exists – is near – and cares constantly for man’s journey, especially when he crosses the great wilderness of daily problems and nagging worries. There is a need today for the service of hope, which up to this time the Church in Poland has carried out so well. Man needs witness to the presence of God! Man today, especially the worker, needs a Church that bears this witness with new force. Times change, men and circumstances change, new problems emerge. The Church cannot ignore these changes and must accept the challenges which they present. Man is the primary and fundamental way for the Church, the way of her daily life and her experience, of her mission and her labours. Therefore the Church of our time must be aware of all that seems opposed to this, so that “human life [may] be ever more human and . . . every element of this life [may] correspond to man’s true dignity – in a word, she must be aware of all that is opposed to that process” (Redemptor Hominis, RH 14).
5. Dear Brothers and Sisters!
We learn this sensitivity towards man and his problems by looking to the life and service of the Patron of your Diocese, Saint Albert Chmielowski, and to the Servant of God Mother Teresa Kierocinska, called Mother of Zaglebie. With sensitivity they discovered the suffering and bitterness of those who could not find their proper place within the social and economic structures of the time and they brought help to the most needy. The programme that they outlined is always relevant. Even at the end of the twentieth century they teach us that we cannot close our eyes to the misery and suffering of those who cannot find their place in the often complicated new reality. May every parish become a community of people sensitive to the fate of those who find themselves in a difficult situation. Search always for new ways to meet this challenge. Let the words of the Scripture be an encouragement for everyone: “You shall give freely to [the needy], and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him; because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake” (cf. Deut Dt 15,10).
The message concerning the presence of God in human history needs to be taken especially to the young. They need this certainty. It alone will enable them to discover new perspectives for the creative fulfilment of their own human lives in a time of change. I am glad that the Church in Poland is taking on the work of education in its different dimensions. May the opportunity given to young people to perfect their abilities produce its fruits! Upon such a foundation, may ingenuity flourish and new and good initiatives emerge in every area of life.
The Church’s witness through works of mercy and teaching cannot, however, take the place of what is done by the people and institutions responsible for shaping of the world of work. Therefore, one of the Church’s most important tasks in this field is the formation of human consciences, a formation requiring the utmost tact and discretion, with a view to imparting to everyone a sensitivity to these problems. Only when this fundamental truth is active in the conscience of each person – the truth that man is both subject and creator, and that work must serve the good of the person and society – only then will it be possible to avoid the dangers that come with practical materialism. The world of work needs people with properly formed consciences. The world of labour expects the Church to serve consciences.
6. Shortly, we shall crown the famous image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help of Jaworzno, from Osiedle Stale. This gesture has a special eloquence. On the one hand, it is a sign of the working people of Zaglebie. Because of their devotion to Mary, because they constantly entrust to her the today and tomorrow of the Church, this faith is kept safe in the hearts of workers, despite the many trials they have undergone, especially in the last fifty years. On the other hand, this act of crowning is a confirmation of the fact that the community of believers in Jaworze and all of Zaglebie truly experiences the special presence of Mary, thanks to whom human aspirations rise before God and divine grace descends upon men.
1034 May Our Lady of Perpetual Help be for you a guide along the paths of the new millennium! May she help you unceasingly on your pilgrimage to the house of the heavenly Father.
And may the love of God the Father, God the Creator and Lord, transform the hearts and minds of all those who with their work subdue the earth. Amen.
S. John Paul II Homil. 1028