Archbishop Dziwisz Begins New Mission in Krakow

70,000 on Hand as He Takes Possession of Wawel Cathedral

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KRAKOW, Poland, AUG. 28, 2005 ( Some 70,000 faithful, 800 priests, 100 bishops, 30 cardinals and various political leaders accompanied Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz when he took possession of the Archdiocese of Krakow.

The former personal secretary of Pope John Paul II began his new mission Saturday morning in the historic Wawel Cathedral, which houses the relics of the patron of Poland, Saint Stanislaw.

«Exceptional witness of John Paul II,» but above all a «pastor, responsible for the future of the Church in Krakow, called by Benedict XVI to write ‘a new chapter’ in the millennial history of this See,» was the welcome the prelate received from the apostolic nuncio in Poland, Archbishop Józef Kowalczyk, reported Vatican Radio.

The papal representative also thanked the outgoing archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, highlighting his pastoral work in the archdiocese, as well as his work in the Church in Poland, as an active member of the Polish episcopal conference and in Vatican congregations.

The elderly Polish cardinal then handed the crozier, or staff, which had previously been used by Archbishop Karol Wojtyla, to Archbishop Dziwisz, who then sat in the chair of the archdiocese.

New patron

A long procession left the cathedral with the saint’s relics to the very beautiful and monumental Market Square, where the new archbishop presided over Mass in the presence of 70,000 faithful.

A long applause, underlined by the traditional sound of the city’s trombone, greeted the arrival of the two archbishops, new and outgoing.

It was Cardinal Macharski who, in his address to Archbishop Dziwisz, stressed that he will be able to count on St. Stanislaw as patron, but also on the protection of another «patron»: Pope John Paul II. The crowd responded to this statement with a long, loud applause.

«I invite you to pray so that, under the protection of the martyr, St. Stanislaw, Pope John Paul II will be before God, as soon as possible, the new patron saint who protects us on the journey of faith as the world’s watchmen in the face of difficulties,» said the Polish cardinal.

Archbishop Dziwisz began his address recalling the 27 years he spent in Rome next to the «Peter of our time.»

He then expressed his gratitude to Benedict XVI for his new pastoral responsibility, and asked the faithful for prayers so that, as John Paul II wrote about himself, he will henceforth be able to be «the strong link» in the long episcopal tradition of Krakow, which began in the year 1000.

Two millennia

St. Stanislaw «gave direction to the whole of the first millennium of Christianity in Poland. God chose John Paul II for the second millennium, a Pope who straddled two millennia that were significant for our times,» said Archbishop Dziwisz.

The archbishop said that Pope John Paul II had the «courage to take man as the program of his Pontificate,» and that he contributed to the fall of totalitarianisms, showing Europe «that the moral values that stem from the Gospel must be a foundation of the social building of the continent and the world.»

The new archbishop appealed to politicians to be committed to implementing policies of defense of man in general and of the poor, the weak and the jobless in particular.

He reminded families that they are, as the Church faithful to God and to the human person underlines, communities between men and women, founded on true love. «In this way the human family is a natural environment of the first human life and cannot be substituted by any other type of union,» he said.

Addressing young people, the archbishop encouraged them to be faithful the message of John Paul II that is «exacting, but oriented to true and important values.»

Finally, Archbishop Dziwisz addressed workers, reminding them of the work accomplished by all those people who worked to build the Church and to maintain religious traditions.

He also mentioned the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Solidarity labor union, over which he presided as a special envoy of Benedict XVI. Through the work of Solidarity, he said, it «has been demonstrated to the whole world that one can struggle for justice without shedding blood. It is a great lesson of the Polish spirit. We cannot lose it.»

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