“We have been waiting for this moment for 225 years,” emphasized the Metropolitan of Warsaw, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, at the beginning of the first Mass celebrated in the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw’s District of Wilanow. On November 11th, Poland’s Independence Day, this church, under construction by the Poles since the adoption of the Constitution in 1791, was opened to the faithful. The work on this edifice—intended to be an ex-voto—was impeded first by the partition of Poland, then by World War II and the communist government.
At the beginning of the Mass, Card. Kazimierz Nycz thanked, among others, his predecessor the late Cardinal Jozef Glemp, who reinitiated the construction of the Temple of Divine Providence. “I wish he could have lived to see this day,” he said. He also expressed his gratitude to all who contributed to the construction and to the entire assembly.
The Mass was presided by Poland’s Primate, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, and the homily was given by the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki. “We can thank God and that generation for the freedom and independence we enjoy today, while remembering that, for us, freedom is a gift but at the same time also a task,” underlined Archbishop Gądecki in his homily. He said that the temple is a sign of our desire to reach—by means of visible things—things unseen. Moreover, he noted that the decision of the late Cardinal Jozef Glemp to accomplish the pledge of the people was a courageous act that is sometimes underestimated, because it warned the people against making empty promises.
The Polish Primate, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, in his intervention at the end of the Mass, said that we need not only to learn freedom and recall it with gratitude, but we must also wisely, creatively and prudently manage the space of our regained freedom, using freedom responsibly, realizing it—as Saint John Paul II reminded us—through truth and goodness. Msgr. Polak expressed the hope that the first Mass in the Temple of Divine Providence be not only an expression of national gratitude but would also make the Poles increasingly courageous, responsible and creative in shaping the present and future of their Fatherland, “in the incarnation of the gift of freedom for which past generations paid the highest price.”
At the Holy Mass on Independence Day and the opening of the Temple of Divine Providence were present the Apostolic Nuncio in Poland as well representatives of Poland’s highest political authorities, led by President Andrzej Duda, the Speakers of the Parliament and the Senate, and the Prime Minister Beata Szydło, and many faithful. The celebration of the Temple’s opening will continue until November 13th.