Pope greets Polish faithful on pilgrimage to Piekary Slaskie Shrine
By Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik
"The Pope wrote in Evangelii Gaudium that it is necessary to make room for a more significant presence of women in the Church, that there must be greater spaces for the mission service they can provide," says Archbishop Adrian Galbas, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Katowice on whose territory the Shrine of the Mother of Justice and Social Love in Piekary Slaskie is located. The Archbishop greeted the participants in today's pilgrimage that involves women and girls, that Pope Francis mentioned in his greetings at the conclusion of the Sunday Angelus.
Annual women's pilgrimage
Piekary Slaskie has been a shrine to the Mother of God since the 17th century. According to tradition, in May there is a pilgrimage for men of all ages, and in August, for women of all ages. Tens of thousands of the faithful attend every year.
Referring to the motto of this year's pilgrimage, "blessed is she who believed," Bishop Galbas looked at the challenges facing believers today, including "our conscious neglect of the spiritual life, lack of prayer, sacramental life, or regular contact with the Word of God."
Included among the many topics the Metropolitan of Katowice addressed was freedom of speech, especially in social media. "We could use a little more moderation in expressing our thoughts, and certainly better manners at times, especially when their absence takes the form of hate that destroys the good name of many a person" the Metropolitan of Katowice noted in welcoming the pilgrims.
During the solemn Mass, Bishop Wieslaw Lechowicz, Polish Military Bishop, delivered the homily. Addressing the women pilgrims in attendance, he encouraged them to use their feminine genius, to contribute to the environments where they live. "And the most important dimension is love," he stressed. He pointed to Mary as a model of faith, but also of beautiful relationships with neighbors.
Bishop Lechowicz then noted that on 10 September, there will be a beatification in Markowa of the Ulma family, whom the Nazis murdered for saving Jews. They died with those they rescued. This beatification will be unprecedented, as it will be the first time an entire family will be beatified together and the first time an unborn child will be beatified.
"The postulator in the beatification process recounted that for a long time, it was difficult to determine whether the actions of Wiktoria and Józef Ulma were motivated by faith," Bishop Lechowicz said. Much became apparent only when a Bible belonging to them was found. The copy of their Bible is full of comments and underlining, and next to the parable of the Good Samaritan, there was an addition in capital letters: 'YES.' Whoever says 'yes' to God also says 'yes' to another person," he stressed in the homily.