Emergency in Warsaw
A Boeing 767 that took off from Newark, N.J., on Tuesday, Nov. 1, was forced to make an emergency landing in Warsaw, Poland, after its landing gear failed to deploy. None of the 230 people on board was injured.
The following was compiled from a report made by Trwam Polish TV network and by commentary from a reader named Iskra — both of which were translated from Polish by Fr. Kaz Chwalek, MIC, the Provincial Superior for Marians' United States and Argentina province.
Noting that among the airplane's cargo was a relic of Blessed John Paul II, Fr. Kaz says of the incident, "It fills my heart with a deep gratitude for it gives witness to God's providential love and mercy and Blessed John Paul II's intercessory prayer."
Trwam offers the following interview:
Father Peter Chyla, a curial member of the Polish Province of Redemptorists and a passenger on the Boeing aircraft that made the emergency landing at the Warsaw airport, had with him a relic of Blessed John Paul II.
"I am not saying that we survived unharmed on account of John Paul II's intercession," Fr. Peter said, "but I prayed and sought his intercession for this grace. I also absolved all the passengers twice, including a few seconds before the plane touched the ground. It was emotionally an overwhelming event. What's most important is what took place in the hearts and minds of the people who had to deal with this impending event. I cannot express my profound appreciation for the pilot and the crew of that Boeing aircraft.
"About 40 minutes before the landing the captain announced to the passengers that it will be an emergency landing due to technical reasons. For several minutes I felt helpless. I tried to control my emotions and clung to the Lord. There was no panic among the passengers, all including mothers with children remained calm. It was amazing. At the very moment of landing, there was only a terrifying silence. When the plane touched the ground, we expected an impact with a corresponding noise. But the plane touched the ground, as if on a sponge. Someone shouted that we managed to get the landing gear down. It turned out that was not the case. Then what followed was a very efficient evacuation."
The report noted that Nov. 1 — observed by the Catholic Church as the Solemnity of All Saints — is also the anniversary of the priestly ordination of Karol Wojtyla, later known worldwide as Pope John Paul II, who was beatified May 1.
A reader named Iskra added a striking commentary that echoes the sentiments of the heart of men and women of faith:
To land without landing gear, with relics of Blessed John Paul II on board, on the Solemnity of All Saints and on the anniversary of his priestly ordination (how to read this!). It's not normal for the runways to be covered with a sponge-like lining, therefore, any contact of the body of the aircraft with the hard surface of the runway will produce consequences dictated by the laws of physics, thus indicating a very different, drastic or tragic conclusion. Yet laws of nature here did not dictate the outcome. According to the laws of nature, destruction and death should have followed. Yet destruction and death did not prevail. Human life triumphed. 230 new graves did not need digging, nor 230 new candles lighting. The light of our merciful God has shown us the glory with which He surrounded his servant John Paul II. Through trusting prayer and John Paul's intercession, the inevitable tragedy of our nation was avoided.