On January 15, 2022, friars from the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow) who are currently living working or studying in Italy met at the Friary of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe on Via San Teodoro in Rome.
It is a Polish religious tradition to celebrate the Christmas liturgical period until February 2, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Until then, the joy of Christmas carols resounds in homes and churches, in keeping with the rich religious customs of Poland, customs that endure thanks to the Catholic faith, which is handed down from generation to generation.
In the spirit of this tradition, about twenty religious from different countries gathered at the friary where St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe founded the Militia of the Immaculata.
After a Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the friars exchanged Christmas and New Year greetings as they shared “opłatek” (a traditional Christmas bread in Poland that resembles the host used during Mass). Then they sat down together for a joyful dinner.
In his homily, Friar Adam MĄCZKA, the Province’s coordinator for Italy, pointed out that the composition of the friars at the meeting reflected the geographical expansion of the Province of Cracow and of the Order. Among those present were friars who have been working for a long time in the various realities of the Order including the Church in Rome. There were also clerical students from Poland, Paraguay, Uganda and the Ukraine who are in Rome to complete their studies utilizing the academic and ecclesiastical wealth of Rome.
Some were unable to attend the meeting due to various pastoral commitments or for reasons related to the complex pandemic situation.
The atmosphere of Christmas carols, cordiality and fraternal discussion were all signs of a celebration that brought friars together from differing countries, languages and customs; friars united by their membership in the same Franciscan family.
Friar Dariusz MAZUREK