On November 15-18, 2021, a spiritual retreat for the bishops of Poland was held at the International Marian Shrine of Jasna Góra in Poland. The retreat, entitled “The Message of Contemporary Saints” was led by Friar Zdzisław KIJAS. Friar Zdzisław served as a relator in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints from 2010 to 2020. Today, he is the Postulator General of the Order.
In an interview with the press office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Friar KIJAS explained the theme of the retreat: “Looking with the eyes of faith, the Lord God uses the saints, the blessed and the servants of God, to provide the Church with teaching, with a certain type of pastoral program…The saints are more than historical figures, people who lived holy lives or those who gave their lives for the values of the faith. The saints also show us a path; they are a light on our personal journey of life.”
In his meditations, Friar Zdzisław gave the background of various blessed figures in Poland who were raised to the altars in recent years, and included some servants of God whose causes are still in progress. In particular, he mentioned Blessed Stefan Cardinal WYSZYŃSKI, Primate of Poland, beatified this year; Blessed Hanna CHRZANOWSKA, a physician, beatified in 2018; Blessed Friars Zbigniew STRZAŁKOWSKI and Michał TOMASZEK, martyred in Peru in 1991 and beatified in 2015; and Friar Jan MACHA, martyred during World War II, whose beatification will take place on November 20, 2021. Other candidates for the altars include the Most Reverend Jan PIETRASZKO, Auxiliary Bishop of Cracow, who is awaiting the recognition of a miracle; Józef and Wiktoria ULMA, a husband and wife who gave their lives, along with their six children in 1944 saving Jews. Their beatification process is still underway; Rozalia CELAK, a famous mystic from Cracow during World War II. Her process is also underway.
The custom of holding regular annual spiritual retreats for the bishops of Poland was introduced on a permanent basis by Stefan Cardinal WYSZYŃSKI in 1950. Today the Polish Episcopate has a total of 149 bishops, including forty-four diocesan bishops, fifty-three auxiliary bishops, and fifty-two bishops emeriti.