2018 abounded in Church events that have already entered into the history of the Church in Poland. The celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence with the participation of Church and state authorities continued throughout the whole year.
The nationwide Church thanksgiving for Poland’s independence took place in Gniezno on April 28-29 and in Cracow on May 13, where the relics of the Patron Saints of Poland are – St. Adalbert and St. Stanislaus. On May 3, the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Queen of Poland, thanksgiving for the Independence took place at Jasna Gora. On June 3, main celebrations took place at the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw with the participation of the Polish Episcopate and the highest state authorities. The solemn Eucharist was presided by the Primate of Poland, Archbishop WojciechPolak. The Act of Thanksgiving and Entrustment to the Divine Providence was made by Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Metropolitan of Warsaw. On November 11, the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence, the solemn Eucharist presided by Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz took place also at the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw.
In chronological order, the first important event in 2018 was the beatification of the nurse Hanna Chrzanowska, which took place on April 28 in Cracow. The celebration in the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy was presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The beatification of Hanna Chrzanowska was a celebration of the health sector, especially nurses and midwives, as well as the sick and the suffering, to whom the new Blessed devoted her life. It was her initiative to create the first home hospices.
On August 15, the 450th anniversary of the death of St. Stanislaus Kostka, the Patron saint of youth, was celebrated. On this occasion, the 380th plenary assembly of the Polish Bishops’ Conference (September 25-26) took place in Plock, as St. Stanislaus was born in Rostkowo in the Diocese of Plock.
From 3 to 6 September, the Plenary Assembly of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) took place in Poznan. Cardinals and bishops from almost all European countries celebrated the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence and the 1050th anniversary of the first bishopric in Poland. Their annual gathering took place in Poznan at the invitation of the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Metropolitan of Poznan Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, who is also the vice president of CCEE. The leading theme was solidarity in Europe and volunteering. The results of studies on volunteering in Europe showed that there is no other institution in Europe than the Catholic Church, which would contribute to volunteering in such a wide range and support its various forms.
An important event for the Church was the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which was held in the Vatican from October 3 to October 28 on “Youth, Faith and Discernment of Vocation”. Representatives of the Polish Bishops’ Conference at the Synod were: Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki – Metropolitan of Poznan, President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference; Archbishop GrzegorzRys – Metropolitan of Lodz and President of the Commission for the New Evangelization and Bishop Marek Solarczyk – auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Warsaw-Praga, President of the Youth Ministry Council. In addition – at the choice of Pope Francis – Bishop Marian Florczyk, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Kielce and a member of the Youth Ministry Council as well as the Delegate for the Pastoral Care of Athletes joined the Synod Fathers. From the conclusions coming from the Synod, it should be emphasized that the parish is to be a home for young people who need closeness, interest and accompaniment.
On October 16, the main celebration of the 40th anniversary of election of Pope John Paul II took place. It had the character of nationwide thanksgiving for the life and ministry of the Pope who changed the history of the world, while for the Poles restored a sense of freedom and taught how to use it so that it brings blessed fruits in community and personal life. On that day a solemn Eucharist was celebrated with the participation of Polish bishops and state authorities in the Sanctuary of St. John Paul II in Cracow, presided by the Apostolic Nuncio in Poland, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, while the homily was delivered by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, former personal secretary of Pope John Paul II.
In the autumn, the central jubilee celebration of the Year of Padre Pio took place on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of receiving stigmata by him and the 50th anniversary of his death. The celebration included, among others, peregrination of the holy relics (glove, habit and band). There was also a pilgrimage of the Secretariat of the Polish Bishops’ Conference to San Giovanni Rotondo.