Wednesday, 16 May 2012
Getting to know modern Poland
My visit to the Catholic University at Lublin was most enjoyable. My hosts have translated my presentation into Polish so the students could have a summary to hand. They could all understand English to some level so there was not a need for much to-and-fro translating.
I stuck at first to the theme that I have been given for the main talk (to seminarians) which is that of secularisation and the new evangelisation. This is interesting enough because Poland is undergoing its own dive into secularism and this is having an effect on the Church. However the lay students today were also keen to hear more about traditional Liturgy. In fact some of them are coming to High Mass tomorrow.
The Catholic University of Lublin was the only Catholic university in the whole of the soviet bloc and was an important part of Blessed John Paul's life. I visited the lecture room in which he taught. They have kept the desk and my hosts took a photo of me sitting at it! Many thanks to Michael for showing me round the university and for giving me a sense of the love that the students have for it as a place of Catholic student life.
This is just a brief update before supper but I have much to report on. I was very moved by my visit to the tomb of Blessed Jerzy Popielusko and even more by the lovingly preserved and, in some places rather harrowing, museum. The above photo shows the Church in which he preached his famous sermons. My host in Lublin was one of the students who kept guard for him at his residence once it was clear that the security forces were after him.
I should see more of Lublin tomorrow as well as visiting the seminary to speak to some students. I'll also be calling into a shop to buy myself a cassock, saving myself more than the cost of my return flight.
Possible update tomorrow - photos and more detail as possible. (One photo today because I don't have time to edit the size down.)