Poland, June 21-27, 2022
In the afternoon of Tuesday, June 21, the Prelate landed at the airport in Wroclaw, where some families welcomed him. He then went to an Opus Dei center in the city and participated in Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament there during the octave of Corpus Christi. Later he met with the rector of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology, Msgr. Włodzimierz Wołyniec, who the following day was to confer on him an honorary doctorate. That night he stayed in the diocesan seminary.
At 9 am on Wednesday, June 22, Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz concelebrated Holy Mass in the cathedral with a number of bishops and priests. Bishop Józef Kupny of Wroclaw presided at the ceremony. Academic authorities from the University of Wroclaw and many faithful also took part. In his homily, Bishop Damian Bryl of Kalisz, a nearby town, referred to Msgr. Ocáriz’s approach to the challenges of today’s world in his written works, in which he tries to identify the key questions that excite people and their openness to the light of the Gospel.
Later that morning, in the aula magna of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology, the academic act of investiture of the Prelate as doctor honoris causa took place. After the official welcome to the academic community of Wroclaw and the rector’s laudatio (the traditional words of praise for the candidate), the authorities of the faculty presented the honorary degree to the Prelate of Opus Dei. Msgr. Ocáriz then gave his class, in which he stressed the need to have an adequate philosophy in theological research, without renouncing all that is based on personal experience in the faith and in Christian life. He also spoke about the mission of theology in the context of the apologetic endeavor in a post-Christian culture.
After the investiture ceremony, the Prelate traveled to Poznan, where he went to pray at the Sanctuary of St. Hyacinth in Legnica. There, nine years ago, a Eucharistic miracle took place that has been recognized by the Holy See. After a time of personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, he greeted a group of the faithful. The parish priest, Father Andrzej Ziombra, told him about the spiritual fruits that the Eucharistic miracle is bringing to his parish and expressed his gratitude for the activities of Christian formation there that are nourished by the spirit of St. Josemaría.
He then went to Sołek, a center of Opus Dei near Poznan, where he stayed that day and the next.
Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz spent Thursday, June 23 in Poznan, a city where Opus Dei has been offering Christian formation for the past 25 years. The day began with Mass in Antrejka, a center of the Prelature. Some of the couples who have taken part in the apostolic activities since the beginning attended. Later, the Prelate spent some time speaking with a group of priests who receive spiritual assistance from the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross. Afterwards he visited Fara, one of the main churches in the city, where relics of St. Josemaría are preserved.
At noon he went to see the Archbishop of Poznan and president of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Msgr. Stanisław Gądecki. In the afternoon he had other get-togethers with faithful of Opus Dei and their families. A number of people there congratulated him for Father’s Day, which in Poland is celebrated on June 23. Some of those present asked him for a word of encouragement to overcome in a Christian way the difficulties created by the war in Ukraine, having experienced these in their own flesh. The day ended with a get-together attended by people from other cities in Poland, during which various songs that St. Josemaría particularly liked were sung.
On the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday, June 24, Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz celebrated Mass in the oratory of Sołek for some faithful of Opus Dei. He then went to bid farewell to those who take part in activities in Antrejka. They told him brief anecdotes related to their work and their family and showed him a photo album of the youth club at the center and its activities of Christian formation and solidarity, including the volunteer days organized this year in a Wroclaw soup kitchen for the homeless.
From Poznan, Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz traveled to Warsaw. In Filtrowa, a center of Opus Dei where human and Christian formation is offered to university and high school students, he spoke with faithful of the Prelature there, Referring to the liturgical feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus celebrated that day, he suggested praying together for peace with the prayer Cor Iesu Sacratissimum et Misericors, dona nobis pacem (Most Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus, grant us peace), which St. Josemaría often prayed. Christ, he said, is the source of authentic peace, referring to St. Paul’s words: Ipse est pax nostra (Eph 2:14). He is our peace.
That afternoon, accompanied by the Regional Vicar, Stefan Moszoro-Dąbrowski, he led a work session at the center of the Regional Advisory, the governing body of the women of the Work in Poland.
At 10 am on Saturday, June 25, Mass was celebrated in the Church of Divine Providence for the liturgical memorial of St. Josemaría, presided over by the Prelate of Opus Dei. Taking his cue from the readings and quoting St. John Paul II and Blessed Stefan Wyszyński, in his homily Msgr. Ocáriz encouraged people to take on the challenge of making their life a work of art, a masterpiece. “That work of art in our own life is the holiness to which God is calling all of us, as St. Josemaría tirelessly preached,” he said. At the end of the Mass, in which he prayed expressly for the person and intentions of the Holy Father and for peace in Ukraine, he spent some time with a group of families.
In the afternoon, in the aula of the Strumienie School of the Sternik Association, he spoke with several groups of people, some of whom came from distant cities such as Gdansk, Krakow, Katowice and Białystok. The interventions of the participants reflected their varied relationships with the Prelature: among them were supernumeraries, cooperators, auxiliary numeraries, former students of the Żagle School, etc. At the end of the day, Msgr. Ocáriz visited a center of Opus Dei that strives to assist families in the formation of their children.
On the morning of Sunday, June 26, the Prelate preached a meditation and celebrated Mass at the Regional Commission of Poland. Afterwards he went to greet Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Archbishop of Warsaw, who thanked him for the formational activities offered by the Prelature, including schools inspired by Christian values, and for the spiritual accompaniment it provides to so many workers.
Afterwards the Prelate spent some time with the young people who take part in apostolic activities organized by people of the Work: in the morning with young women at the Klub Filary and in the afternoon with young men at the Filtrowa university center. He encouraged them to look at their lives with eyes of faith, which is the true source of joy, and to contemplate with hope the task God entrusts to Christians: to radiate the joy of the Gospel in all environments through friendship. In the morning, he also went to Wawer, another center of Opus Dei, to greet one of the numeraries, a dentist, who began the stable work of the Prelature in Poland, and who now suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
On Monday, June 27, the thirtieth anniversary of the episcopal consecration of the Pope, the Prelate celebrated Holy Mass at the Regional Commission of Poland. During the ceremony, special prayers were said for the Roman Pontiff. After Mass he briefly greeting some of those attending and then left for Modlin airport for a flight to Spain, where he would spend the following weeks.
Romana, n. 74, January-June 2022, p. 52-56.