Homily given at the Thanksgiving Mass for the Beatification
of Fr. Stanislaus Papczyński
at the Chapel of the Bishops of Krakow, September 19, 2007,
by His Emminence Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz
1. Immaculate Virginis Mariae Conception sit nobis salus et protectio – “May the Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception be our health and protection.”
Dear Marian Fathers:
May this invocation, which Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński encouraged his spiritual sons to repeat frequently, be the motto of our thanksgiving for this exceptional personage in the history of the Church in Poland and of our Homeland. As the founder of Marian Fathers and a great venerator of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, he inscribed himself permanently into the pantheon of saints of the Church in Poland and the world.
By dispensation of Divine Providence, Blessed Stanislaus was closely associated with the Diocese of Krakow, because he was born in that area. Through the Piarist Fathers, he established ties with Krakow while living in their residence in Kazimierz. In difficult moments of his life he always sought help in Krakow, at the side of Bishop Mikołaj Oborski. Here also has finally matured his charismatic idea of founding a new congregation.
We cannot forget that it was a Pope from Krakow, the Holy Father John Paul II, who reopened Stanislaus Papczyński’s beatification process and, on June 13, 1992, during the consistory in Rome, proclaimed a decree of his heroic virtues. This way the beatification process, which continued for almost 300 years, entered into a new stage.
Today, in the chapel of the Bishops of Krakow, we would like to give thanks to God for Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński and for the cause that he left as a legacy to us.
2. Just like in the lives of many saints of this bygone epoch, we may also see many paradoxes in the changes of Bl. Stanislaus Papczyński’s fortune.
Without going into details of his biography well known to all of you, I would like to emphasize only certain facts supporting my statement. The new Blessed was the son of a farmer from Podegrodzie near Nowy Sącz, yet he managed to graduate from a Jesuit College in Lwów. He started his religious career at the Piarists and he ended it as the founder of the Congregation of Marians, the first Polish male religious order. As a Piarist, he was the confessor to the King John III Sobieski and the Apostolic Nuncio to Poland, Antonio Pignatelly, later the Pope Innocent XII. Already in his mother’s womb, Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński has been entrusted to the protection of our Blessed Mother. Thanks to her intercession, he miraculously got off many a time from various dangerous situations.
3. Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński became known in his time as a prominent preacher, zealous promoter of Gospels, and a great venerator of the mystery of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Last Sunday, during the ceremony of beatification in Licheń, His Eminence Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone spoke in his homily of Fr. Stanislaus’s great love for our Blessed Mother: “In the mystery of her Immaculate Conception, the new beatus marveled at the power of the Redemption worked by Christ. In the Immaculate Virgin, he discerned the beauty of the new creation given totally to Christ and the Church. He became so fascinated by this truth of the faith that he was prepared to give his life in its defense. He knew that Mary, the crowning glory of God’s creation, is the confirmation of the dignity of every man and woman, loved by God and destined for eternal life in heaven” (Homily in Licheń, September 16, 2007). Through his service as preacher and confessor, but particularly through his dedication to fighting the addiction to alcohol, which was already then a great national failing, Bl. Stanislaus Papczyński led men to the beauty and dignity bestowed on them by their Creator and Redeemer.
4. Dear Marian Fathers, I am glad that today may give thanks to God along with you for the grace of beatification of your Founder, Bl. Stanislaus Papczyński who was an exceptional person in his time. As I participated in the ceremony of his beatification – so impeccably prepared that it may be a model for future Church events of this kind in Poland – three thoughts were born in my heart, which I would like to share with you now.
Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński was a great venerator of the mystery of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. I ask you to keep spreading with an utmost zeal the honor of Mary Immaculate. Your Founder entrusted the Congregation of Marian Fathers to the Mother of God. After the Blessed’s example, learn and teach others to have complete trust in God and to zealously fulfill His will, repeating Mary’s “fiat”: May it be done unto me!
Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński had a great devotion for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. In faithfulness to your Founder, strive to rekindle the prayer for the Poor Souls. Practicing of this prayer awakens in the hearts of people the faith in eternal life and longing for the fullness of happiness in heaven. Today the materialism weakens our longing for heaven and makes us to satisfied with earthly matters forgetting about the heavenly ones. This leads to the consumerism, which strips our souls of the yearning for eternal life and happiness. Awaken then a desire for heaven in the hearts of the faithful and encourage them to pray for the intention of Poor Souls in Purgatory, for their happiness in heaven.
The third though, which I wish to share with you, is a concern for the Divine Mercy devotion, which was assigned to us by the Holy Father John Paul II, the great Apostle of the Divine Mercy. I thank you for the everything you have done so far in the Divine Mercy devotion and I ask you to continue spreading this devotion throughout the world, and especially in the United States and England, as you have been doing all along. I urge you not to forget that the essence of the Divine Mercy mystery is also expressed in the Sacrament of Penance, of which your Founder was an ardent advocate. Thus, please encourage people to frequently go to confession and serve the modern man with your pastoral care.
At this occasion I would like to thank you also for your contribution to the life of the Church in Krakow made through parish ministry, as well as for tactful and responsible service with the newspaper Tygodnik Powszechny and your intellectual cooperation with the Holy Father John Paul II both in Poland and in Rome.
Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński always was faithful to God, both in moments of joy and in difficult times of trials and setbacks. For all of this we give thanks today to our Merciful Father, asking for your devotion to God and the Church through your allegiance to the spiritual legacy of your Blessed.