Photo: Dan Valenti
Father Andrew Gorczyka, MIC, left, and Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, concelebrate Mass Oct. 10 on Pope John Paul II-Polish Day at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, Stockbridge, Mass.
Pope John Paul II: A Man of Mercy
Hundreds Gather on Eden Hill for JPII-Polish Day
By Dan Valenti (Oct 10, 2009)
On a cool, blustery day where the sun punctured the clouds with rare shafts of warm gold and occasional splotches of blue, the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception and the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., celebrated Pope John Paul II and Polish Day Oct. 10. Some 400 pilgrims from throughout the Northeast attended.
Each year, this day proves to be one of the most anticipated events on the Hill.
Once again, this year's celebration included the international traveling photo display on the life of Karol Wojtyla — 150 large pictures of the man who became one of the giants of the 20th century. The exhibit, set up in the great room of Marian monastery adjacent to the Shrine, was on display throughout the day along with other items of interest pertaining to Polish culture.
A Reflection on the Man
At 1 p.m., Eucharistic Adoration and confessions were held, continuing until 2 p.m., when Mass was celebrated at the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine on the south lawn of Eden Hill. Father Andrew Gorczyca, MIC, served as principal celebrant. Father Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC; Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC; and Fr. Bernard Backiel, MIC, concelebrated. Brother Andrew Maczynski, MIC, and Br. Michael Opalacz, MIC, also participated. The Mass was celebrated in Polish, with English translations provided for the readings and homily.
In his homily, Fr. Andrew praised Pope John Paul II, offering a reflection on the profoundly influential life of the man who served the Church as Holy Father for 27 years.
"He brought to the Universal Church a faith and spirituality that began in Poland 1,000 years ago," Fr. Andrew said. He noted the many journeys made by John Paul around the globe during his pontificate, done "to witness to God's love for all humanity. Pope John Paul II witnessed that God is the only one who can give us salvation. He brought the news of salvation for all to all."
Mercy 'Beyond our Grasp'
The Pope also "called on us to change our lives, to become doers of mercy. It is the actions of mercy that count: actions of kindness, compassion, and love. This is not always easy to do in today's troubled world, but in Christ we find our strength. We are called to be merciful to others. As we gather here today on Eden Hill, may we experience His mercy, which is so complete, so sustained, and so deep that it is beyond our grasp. Let us dedicate ourselves completely to the Lord and to His mercy, that we may one day achieve our heavenly reward, which is to be with God, forever, in heaven."
The ceremony included the presentation of a relic of Blessed Michael Sopocko, the confessor and spiritual director of St. Faustina; a Rosary for Life; the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy; Benediction; blessing with relics of St. Faustina and Blessed Michael; and the blessing of religious articles.
Dan Valenti writes for numerous publications of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, both in print and online. He is the author of Dan Valenti's Mercy Journal.