“I thank the Lord for this newly built church,” writes Pope Francis in a special letter to Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the Holy Father’s envoy for the consecration of the newly built church in Toruń, Poland, today, the 96th birthday of St. John Paul II.
Construction began in June 2012; three years later on the 5th of September 2015, a brick was ceremoniously layed down at the structure’s foundations which was taken from the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican.
The Church of Mary, Star of the New Evangelization and St. John Paul II was built as a tribute and sign of gratitude for Pope John Paul II’s pontificate. Within the chancel there is a replica of the Vatican’s papal chapel. The icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa that stood in front of the late pope as he prayed there for many years has been placed inside this chapel. Below the church is the Chapel of Commemoration dedicated to martyrs. The names of Poles who were murdered as punishment for aiding Jews during World War II along with their relics can be seen on the walls of the chapel. The figure of Our Lady Immaculate has been placed in the center.
Pope Francis wrote in his letter to Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski: “I thank the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer for their efforts, and the charity of the Polish people in Poland and of course those Poles living abroad for their contribution in making all of this possible.”
As Cardinal Grocholewski ceremoniously opened the Door of Mercy, he encouraged the faithful to continue serving Christ by saying that “today we have a renewed reason to be joyful and the very ambitious name of this new place of worship parallels this joy.”
The Cultural Attaché of the Israeli Embassy in Poland, Anna Ben Ezra expressed her gratitude for the construction of the chapel inside the church which commemorates the Poles that perished while helping Jews endangered during World War II. Anna Ben Ezra underlined that the mission of the embassy is to honor the Poles that died trying to save the Jews that were in dire need, which is why the initiative for constructing the chapel was met with such joy and affirmation. The representative of the Israeli embassy also expressed her gratitude for John Paul II’s service and dedication for the betterment of Catholic-Jewish relations.
In a letter, the head of the Polish Bishop’s Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki wrote that “the consecration of the Mary Star of the New Evangelization church during our 1050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland and World Youth Day Krakow 2016 is significant.” Holy Mass that will accompany the consecration will be celebrated with around 400 priests and 40 bishops, along with thousands of pilgrims from Poland and from around the world.
[From the Polish Bishop’s Conference Press Office]
Pope Francis’ letter:
Most venerable my brother Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski
of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and
Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education (for Institutes of Study)
As we joyfully celebrate Pentecost and deliberate over the bountiful mysteries of our faith I cannot help but express my jubilation as I witness how our Church leaders fervently bring about new initiatives to spread the Faith and encourage acts of love and mercy in our daily life routines. That is why I thank the Lord for the newly built church in Toruń that will soon be ceremoniously consecrated, dedicated to Mary, Star of the New Evangelization and St. John Paul II and thank the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer for their efforts, and the charity of the Polish people in Poland and of course those Poles living abroad for their contribution in making all of this possible. As I have been informed, Toruń, the birthplace of Nicholas Copernicus will host many bishops, clerics, and the faithful laity who will be praying on behalf of the entire church to our Most Holy Redeemer that He may answer our humble prayers.
Most venerable confrere Bishop Andrzej Wojciech Suski who undoubtedly fulfills his role as bishop diligently has asked me to send my most honorable envoy and representative and express on my behalf the joy I feel on this special occasion. That is why I address you, most venerable confrere Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education (for Institutes of Study), who looks after and supports the efforts and fruits of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in Toruń, with this letter. My most honorable envoy and representative relays this message on the day of the consecration that will take place on the 18th of May, the birthday of St. John Paul II. As you celebrate Holy Mass during this consecration and open the Holy Door of Mercy thereby inviting those present at the consecration to dedicate themselves more to the works of Christ and encourage those loyal to Poland to strive tirelessly in showing the world the love of the Gospel and teach the world how to live by our Christian virtues.
I ask that you send my blessings and best regards to the bishop of Toruń and the rest of the congregation. With the same measure of emphasis, please take the time to thank the authorities of Toruń, all the municipal servicemen and all of those who support the works of the Church and respect the goodness of every single individual.
I will therefore accompany you in prayer as you lead the consecration and ask Our Lady od Częstochowa, Queen and Protectress of Poland for her intercession. I offer you my Apostolic Blessings as a sign of my goodwill. May these blessings reach all of the participants of the consecration and all the listeners of Radio Maryja and may they pray for me so that by the will of God, I may diligently fulfill my utmost responsible role as the successor of St. Peter.
Written and signed on the 14th of April, 2016 during the Jubilee of Mercy on the fourth year of my pontificate.
[Courtesy of the Polish Bishop’s Conference Press Office]