Jan M. Rokosz, MIC

Superior General of the Congregation of Marian Fathers for the Closing of the Beatification Ceremony of Father Stanislaus Papczyński

Blest are the eyes because they see and blest are the ears because they hear (…) Many a prophet and many a saint longed to see what you see but did not see it, to hear what you hear but did not hear it. (Mt 13:16).

The words of Jesus Christ uttered to the crowds at the lake of Genesaret seem to be addressed to us. We are happy. Our Founder, Father Stanislaus Papczyński has been raised to the honors of the altar. The Congregation of Marian Fathers has awaited this moment for almost three hundred years. Today, the prayers of those who have always believed that he was a saint and that the example of his life should be set as an inspiration and ideal to follow for all Christians, have been heard. It is very meaningful to behold his picture which has been hung from this Basilica erected as a house of prayer and evangelization for the third millennium of Christianity.

We feel greatly honored that Holy Father Benedict XVI is represented here by the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. I am very grateful to your Eminence for proclaiming Father Stanislaus Blessed and for addressing us with a very moving message. Later today, His Eminence will be the first to honor the new Blessed and will pray at his tomb for the Church in Poland and for the Marian Congregation. In the hands of Your Eminence, we render our deepest devotion for Benedict XVI. We thank the Holy Father for the greetings we received from Him during the Angelus and a very symbolic gift for the Sanctuary. It is the Book of the Gospels with the dedication: Dear Marian Fathers, listen to and proclaim the Holy Gospel following the example of the Immaculate Mother of Christ. This gift inspires us to a zealous evangelization, following the example of Blessed Stanislaus, who as a tireless preacher, proclaimed the Good News to the poor and to the rich.

Father Papczyński inspired his fellow citizens to have a love for their homeland and he forcefully condemned Polish national vices. For many, he is considered another Piotr Skarga. Today, the President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, together with the representatives of the government, take part in the beatification. Mr. President, we thank you for your presence which is significant! We pray that the new Blessed will support you in guiding the ship of our nation toward better times.

From the bottom of my heart I thank the guests from the Vatican, the representatives of various dicasteries, under the leadership of the Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, His Eminence Cardinal Franc Rodé, whose presence is particularly dear to us.

I express my gratitude to all the persons involved in the beatification process of our Founder who come from the Dioceses of Poznan, Warsaw, Elk and many dicasteries in the Holy See.

I extend my thanks to the Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and priests for attending today’s celebration, who came from different countries where the Marian Fathers work: from Eastern and Western Europe, North and South America and also Asia and Africa.

It is a great joy for us to see so many Shepherds of the Church in Poland, led by the Primate,  Cardinal Jozef Glemp and the head of the Polish Episcopate, Archbishop Jozef Michalik. I am particularly grateful to the Bishop of this Diocese, Fr. Wieslaw Mering, who has extended his pastoral care to us. We are happy to see so many Consecrated Religious present, together with their General and Provincial Superiors. It is a very significant symbol of brotherhood and unity among the Consecrated Persons.

My greetings go to all the devotees of Blessed Stanislaus coming from near and far. Let me mention the pilgrims from Marian parishes in Poland and abroad and the pilgrims from dioceses and parishes particularly connected with the new Blessed: from the Diocese of Tarnow and Podegrodzie where Father Papczyński was born; from the Diocese of Lowicz and Puszcza Marianska, where the Blessed founded the Marian Congregation, from the Archdiocese of Warsaw and Gora Kalwaria, where the tomb of the Blessed is situated, and from the Diocese of Elk where the miracle through the intercession of Father Stanislaus took place, which opened for him the way to the altar.

I would like to acknowledge the presence of the devotees of Our Lady of Lichen and parishioners who in erecting the Basilica, expressed their faith and love for God and Mary Immaculate. My greetings go to the lay helpers of the Congregation who, in many different ways, fulfill the charism of Father Papczyński; I greet all who are with us through radio and television. From the bottom of my heart I thank all who prepared this celebration with great effort and deep commitment.

With particular affection I greet my dear Marian confreres, both these who are present here as well as those who could not attend the ceremony. Faith in the Communion of the Saints allows us to unite with our confreres who did not manage to see this day, but who now share with us from the joy of heaven. Today, more than at any time before, we feel united in great joy, thanksgiving and a desire to live our vocation with renewed enthusiasm and zeal. May the joy of this day bring the fruit of holiness into our lives, as well as a new zeal to proclaim the Gospel.

Father Stanislaus Papczyński lived over three centuries ago. We ask ourselves: why are we the ones who have received the grace of his Beatification, though so many generations waited for it to take place? If God planned to bring Father Papczyński to the glory of the altar now, it means that his figure is particularly timely for our age; that the Blessed has something important to tell us. The words of His Eminence strengthened us in this conviction. Let’s receive Father Papczyński and his prophetic vision as God’s gift for the Church, for Poland and for the world.