Considered a national hero by Poles and a staunch opponent of the communist regime in Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, who passed away in 1981, was beatified into sainthood on Sunday’s special Mass at the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw.
Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and a papal representatie, also declared Mother Elżbieta Róża Czacka a blessed saint at the same mass.
Six hundred priests and 80 church hierarchs took part in the mass, including archbishops Stanisław Gądecki, Wojciech Polak and Kazimierz Nycz. The highest state representatives also attended the event, including President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
On occasion of this historic day, Professor Andrzej Nowak of Jagiellonial University in Kraków addressed one of the most important messages preached by Cardinal Wyszyński in an interview by Radio Wnet.
He emphasized that Wyszyński desired for the Polish nation to be Catholic in each household and family. Nowak noted that people who are ashamed of terms such as “nation” or “Catholic nation” are distorting the essence of the cardinal’s message. He added that the source of this message came from the Gospel.
Professor Nowak stressed that Wyszyński had a deep love of Polish history. Hundreds of times during his sermons he had encouraged Poles to not be ashamed of their history and to be proud of it because there were great reasons to do so.
The professor admitted that Cardinal Wyszyński most definitely deserved his title of “Primate of the Millennium”.
“It occurred at a very difficult moment as it was when power in Poland was being taken over brutally by the communists during the Stalinist era,” he said.
Nowak explained that the fight for Poland and Polish spirits takes place not only in the chambers of parliament or media, but also takes place above history in the area of prayer and faith.
The professor also reminded that in the 1970s, communist services tried to pit Cardinal Wyszyński against then archbishop Karol Wojtyła (later pope John Paul II) but to no avail.
“They both served only one Lord and Poland,” he said.
Title image: Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, left, following Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, also from Poland, as they arrived for the funeral of the late Pope Paul VI on Aug. 11, 1978. (AP Images)