ADDRESS WELCOMING THE PAPAL LEGATE, HIS EMINENCE CARDINAL TARCISIO BERTONE
by Very Rev. Jan M. Rokosz, MIC of the Congregation of Marian Fathers
on the eve of the Beatification of Father Stanislaus Papczyński Lichen, 15 September 2007
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation…(Is 52:7).
With these words of the Prophet Isaiah, filled with joy, affection and humility, on behalf of the Marian Fathers and Brothers, I welcome Your Eminence to our house. I ask you to accept our deepest loyalty, honor and love. Truly, by God’s Providence, Your Eminence is for us the herald of the Good News, bringing us the Apostolic Letter of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, which speaks of including our founder, Venerable Stanislaus Papczyński, among the blessed. Our Congregation has awaited these glad tidings for over 300 years.
From a human perspective, the Marian Congregation should not exist. Wherever we set up religious houses, we were persecuted by lay authorities (in Portugal, Rome, Poland, and Lithuania). In 1908, in Mariampol, Lithuania, there was only one old and infirm Marian Father, who was convinced that along with his death, the Congregation would cease to exist. God did not allow the work which He Himself had initiated in Father Stanislaus Papczyński to perish. A graduate from our school in Mariampol, a professor of the Spiritual Academy in St. Petersburg, Father George Matulewicz-Matulaitis, working under cover, risking his life, renewed and reformed the order, giving it a new apostolic dynamism. This strengthens our belief that the Church today needs our charism. Nowadays, over 500 Marian priests and brothers work for Christ and the Church in 18 countries on all continents.
I extend a most cordial welcome to our most honored guests: Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops from Poland and abroad. Among them, let me mention the Bishop of this Diocese —Fr. Wieslaw Mering; the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, and the Head of the Polish Episcopate, Archbishop Jozef Michalik. I greet the General and Provincial Superiors, the representatives of different religious communities in Poland and abroad, in particular, the Superior General of the Piarist Fathers. Ties of religious vows and love connected Father Papczyński with this community.
I thank each and every one of you for your presence and for sharing our joy and thanksgiving for the gift of the Beatification of our Founding Father. I wish you all a good stay which would be fruitful for both for the spirit and the body at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lichen.