The visit of the Custos in Poland | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

The visit of the Custos in Poland


From the 14th to the 17th of September the Custos of the Holy Land, father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, was in Poland, where, invited by the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, he participated at the second edition of "Days in Jerusalem”, held in the city of Miechów in Poland. During his stay he was hosted by the Provincial House of Saint Mary of the Angels in Cracow, headquarters of the Holy Land Commissariat in Poland. During the first day the Custos met the representatives of the governments of the five Friar Minors Provinces in Poland. Three Minister Provincials took part in the meeting: brother Rufin Maryjka, for Saint Mary of the Angels Province in Cracow; brother Alan Brzyski from Saint Edvige in Wroclaw; and brother Filemon Janka from the Province of Saint Francis in Poznan. The Provincial Definitor of the Immaculate in Krakow and the Rector of WSFH (Study of Hebrew Philology ) in Toruń. The Custos illustrated the situation of the Custody in the Holy Land and a discussion was held on a possible cooperation between the Polish Provinces and the Franciscan Mission in the Holy Land.

Saturday morning (15.09), the Custos was accompanied by Brother Jerzy Kraj and Brother Paschalis Kwoczała, Commissary of the Holy Land in Poland. The Custos met with Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow. During their cordial meeting, 40 min. long, the Cardinal recalled his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, accompanying the relics gift from Blessed John Paul II and he thanked the Commissariat, as the Custody of the Holy Land for their exceptional service offered to the pilgrims.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday the 6th of September, the Custos went to Miechów for the second meeting of the Days in Jerusalem. These were organized by the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, with the participation of the Holy Land Commissariat in Poland, the meeting included, amongst the notable present, the great master of the OESSH, H.E. Card. Edwin Frederic O’Brien, Card. Józef Glemp, five Polish Bishops and a representation of the United Kingdom and German Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. After the blessing and inauguration of the official headquarters of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher in Poland, a holy mass was celebrated in the chapel which replicates the Holy Sepulcher.

A numerous crowd, amongst which many knights and ladies of the Holy Sepulcher, participated at the symposium, dedicated to the Custody of the Holy Land. Brother Narcyz Klimas, the custodial archivist, presented the history of the Custody; brother Jerzy Kraj spoke about the presence of Polish friars in this region and the Custos, in his speech, underlined the present Christian situation in the Holy Land.

The Sunday celebration of the Eucharist was a culminating point of the feast in Miechów. During the mass of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, presided by Card. O’Brien, the Custos preached the homily in English, translated by brother Narcyz in Polish. F. Pierbattista spoke about the cross, sign of victory and Christian faith.

On Monday, before leaving Poland, the Custos prayed in the sanctuary of Divine Mercy, where saint Faustina Kowalska in Łagiewniki in Cracow is buried and visited the close by centre “ Do not be afraid” which was built near the new sanctuary dedicated to Blessed John Paul the II.

Fr. Jerzy Kraj ofm