My dear parishioners and friends of our parish community: Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!
We gather together this Lord’s Day on the first weekend of the new month of September. Where did the Summer go? How fast the days of Summer fly by us! I hope you had some time to enjoy Summer vacation days. Many of you have asked me…how was your summer vacation, Father? It was fantastic!
I flew from JFK-New York to Krakow, Poland. I was met by Father Zbyszek (Father Ziggy) Zielinski and together we explored the beautiful city of Krakow, Poland. If you ever have a chance to see Europe, be sure to plan a visit to Krakow. It’s a beautiful place along the Visla River, once the ancient capital of Poland and home to the Kings and Queens of Poland.
Many saints are also associated with Krakow, so there are numerous churches throughout the city. The most important church, of course, is the Cathedral high above the city. It houses the relics of St. Stansilaus, Bishop and Martyr of Poland. Close to the Cathedral is the diocesan seminary where men study for the priesthood for service to the Archdiocese. I also visited the Convent of St. Faustina Kowalska – the Apostle of the Divine Mercy devotion.
Perhaps the best known and most beloved figure of Krakow was Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II, elected October 16th, 1976, in Rome. Today, his personal secretary, Stansilaw Cardinal Dziwisz, serves as the Archbishop of Krakow. He is working very diligently for the beatification and canonization of the servant of God, Pope John Paul II the Great. Pray God, soon be becomes the newest Pope canonized and joins the litany of the saints of Poland! The Church in Poland prays daily for this special intention.
The special highlight of my time in Poland was the visit to the Shrine/Basilica of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Father Ziggy arranged for a special “birthday gift” for me – Holy Mass at the Altar of Our Lady! You can be certain that I prayed for all of you and brought with me to the altar all the intentions of the dear parishioners and friends of St. John Parish, Middletown.
Czestochowa is the “Spiritual Capital” of Poland. Countless pilgrims come from all parts of Poland, day and night, to pay special homage to the Queen of Poland, the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title Our Lady of Czestochowa. My time there was very special to me. There I prayed for all my family and ancestors. I find a very special protection at Czestochowa, under the mantle of the Mother of God. She continues to be the protectress of the whole Polish Nation and the Church.
On display near to the s Icon of Our Lady, one can see the Papal sash with blood stains worn by Pope John Paul II on the day of the attempted assassination in Rome on May 13th, 1981. It remains there as a votive offering to the Mother of God for saving the life of her beloved son. I urge you to someday visit Poland too.
Monday, September 8th is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I urge you to attend Mass in her honor; this will make her most happy! Friday, September 12th, is also the birthday of our parish secretary, Megan Furtado. Happy Birthday!
Late Summer Blessings to you all!
Always, Father Jim