There are three aspects of the feast day of the Conventual Franciscan Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Poland (Gdańsk) that will certainly be remembered: the beautiful autumn weather, the fantastic lecture by Friar Tadeusz BRZOZOWSKI and the Franciscan hospitality of our confreres in Darłowo.
Every year, in mid-October, the friars gather at one of the Province’s friaries to celebrate the anniversary of the foundation of the Jurisdiction.
This year, the Minister Provincial, Friar Jan MACIEJOWSKI, invited everyone to Darłowo. The occasion was the 25th anniversary of the coronation of the statue of Our Lady of Unity, which was blessed at the Vatican by St. John Paul II. Friars from all the friaries in the Provinces in Poland, as well as those in Germany and Lithuania, replied to the invitation. The guardian, Friar Wiesław PRZYBYSZ, addressed a welcome speech to all those present, wishing them a good stay and inviting them to visit this ‘royal city’ in the future.
The meeting began with the recitation of Mid-Morning Prayer. Next, the Minister Provincial invited all those present to listen to a lecture presented by Friar Tadeusz, a missionary who has been working in Kenya for years. It was also mentioned that this year is also 100th anniversary of the priestly ordination of St. Maximilian M. KOLBE.
Friar Tadeusz started by saying that his talk would be a “reflection from the African bush, with some language that is not politically correct.” He reminded us of the great value of thanksgiving, which must never be forgotten. He added that our friaries are “holy ground”, and that it is not necessary to look for this ground somewhere else far away. He recalled the priesthood of St. Maximilian and reflected, in a very lively and suggestive way, on the religious vows. The missionary’s accessible language and warm heart ensured that his lecture was understood not only by the priests and religious, but by the laity gathered in the church.
The noon Mass was presided over by the Minister Provincial. In his homily, he spoke about how happy Mary is as the Mother of Jesus. For us the key to being happy here on earth is accepting the Word of God. He asked his listeners: “What word do you live today?” He then drew attention to the importance of unity and mentioned that in order to promote unity at home and in the world, it is necessary to first have it in one’s heart. We ourselves must burn with love, hope and faith in order to offer all of this to others. At the end of his homily, he thanked all the friars who have worked in post-war Darłowo (in particular, Friar Janusz JĘDRYSZEK), as well as the parishioners, who for years have prayed, and still pray, in this “House of Our Lady of Unity”.
During the Mass, some deceased brothers were remembered; among them, Friar Stefan MALANDY who returned to the Father’s house right here in Darłowo, two months ago.
At the end of the liturgy, the Fraternitatis gratiarum statuette was given out. It is traditionally assigned each year to lay people who are associated with the Franciscan communities. This year, 2018, it was given to Mr. Mirosław MIKOŁAJCZUK from Gniezno, who for years has been very involved in the life of the parish community and helps the friars in various ways. With his serene attitude and his profound faith, he is an example of someone who leads a truly Franciscan life.
The festivities ended at 3:15 p.m., with Evening Prayer celebrated in the church of San Giorgio, where the Franciscans have been doing pastoral ministry for years.
Friar Grzegorz KORDEK, Provincial Secretary / Editorial Staff