The Church in Poland took part in the celebration of the 100th anniversary of independence with a Solemn Mass celebrated in the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw that brought together bishops and representatives of the highest state authorities, while ecumenical services and many patriotic events and prayers for the homeland were held in Polish parishes in the country and abroad. A message was addressed to the Polish nation by Pope Francis. On November 11th, at noon, the bells of many churches resonated.
Pope Francis, in a letter sent to the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, wrote: “Taking up the prayer of St. Pope John Paul II, a special witness of this century, I ask God to bestow the grace of faith, hope, and love on all Poles, so that they may make good use of unity and peace along with the precious gift of freedom.”
The main Mass in the Temple of Divine Providence in Wilanów (Warsaw) was presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio of Poland, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio. Many bishops were present and also, among others, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda; Speakers of the Sejm and of the Senate, Marek Kuchciński and Stanisław Karczewski; and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The homily was given by the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznań Stanisław Gądecki, who stressed that the future of Poland depends on the integrity of the consciences of its citizens. He also called to care for faith, memory, and culture, as well as for renewal in the political sphere.
On the eve of the anniversary, the head of the Episcopate, he gave a message through TVP, in which he remarked that “a society that does not remember its own past cannot constitute the basis of harmonious coexistence and a joint commitment for achieving future goals.”
In turn, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, recalled in the Temple of Divine Providence that the independence cost the sacrifice of thousands of Poles. President Andrzej Duda symbolically lit “the candle of independence.” On Sunday, at 7:18 pm, referring to the year in which independence was regained, candles will be burning in many Polish homes. The President, the Speakers of the Sejm and the Senate, the Prime minister and the PBC President, gave the names of the Fathers of Independence to seven oaks planted next to the Temple of Providence.
Representatives of the Churches belonging to the Polish Ecumenical Council and the Polish Bishops’ Conference emphasized in a joint message that “Poland is a value above all divisions. Therefore, we encourage everyone, regardless of their religious and political beliefs, regardless of their social position and origin, to make a joint effort for its good.”