Polish bishops end Year of Mercy by enthroning Christ as King in presence of president
KRAKOW- ŁAGIEWNIKI, Poland, November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — On November 19, at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy, Poland celebrated a historical Act of Acceptance of Christ as King and Lord with a Mass at the Shrine of Divine Mercy, with the Polish bishops, government authorities, and many faithful in attendance. President Andrzej Duda from the Law and Justice Party took part in the event, thus attracting international media attention.
More than 100,000 Poles in Krakow recited the solemn pledge: “O Immortal King of Ages, Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior! In the Jubilee Year of the 1,050th anniversary of Poland’s baptism, in the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, we Poles stand here before you to acknowledge your reign, to submit ourselves to your law, to entrust and consecrate to you our Fatherland and our whole people.”
The ceremony was organized by the Polish Bishops’ Conference, inspired by Pope Francis’ papal bull Misericordiae Vultus. In relation to the closing of the Holy Door of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the Holy Father wrote, “We will entrust the life of the Church, all humanity, and the entire cosmos to the Lordship of Christ, asking him to pour out his mercy upon us like the morning dew, so that everyone may work together to build a brighter future.”
During the Mass, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow and the president of the Conference of the Polish Episcopate, said, “We invite Jesus into our hearts, families, communities, and surroundings … and to all which constitutes Poland.” The Cardinal added that all persons should not be afraid to proclaim such things.
The idea for this proclamation came from the Commission for the Movements of Christ’s Enthronement. In an October pastoral letter, the Polish Bishops explained, “There is no need to enthrone Christ in the sense of placing him on the throne and giving him the power or proclaiming him king.” However, “there is an urgent need to enthrone Christ in the hearts of the faithful, by reviving living faith and the life of faith.” Therefore, the Act contains a profession of faith and renunciation of evil.
Bishop Andrzej Czaja, president of the Groups for Enthronement, said that the primary purpose of the Act is “faithful recognition of Jesus, surrendering and entrusting our personal, family, and national lives to Him in all dimensions, and living according to God’s law.” He added, “As such, it should therefore also be an act of justice, in the sense of devoting what is due to God, and at the same time an act of obedience to God in response to His Love.”
Most of the people were not able to enter the Shrine of Divine Mercy and stood outside in the rain. Among them were members of the Right to Life Foundation, who were holding pro-life posters. Many participants interviewed by Polonia Christiana TV mentioned that they wanted Poland to ban abortion, which the ruling party Law and Justice is unwilling to do.
It appears that the Church authorities hinted at that. During the homily, Bishop Czaja said, “There is a need for clear respect for God’s law, so that man’s law does not supercede it.” He clarified that this respect would assure that “what’s morally good and ethical would not be neglected.” Bishop Czaja also talked about giving the first place to Christ in all aspects of life, including professional.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin commented that the enthronement had no political meaning and that politicians present accepted Christ as King and Lord only as private citizens.
The Saturday celebration in the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow preceded the feast of the Solemnity of Christ the King in the Catholic liturgical year. Last Sunday, the Act of Acceptance of Christ as King and Lord was recited in all Catholic churches in Poland.
A short video from the celebration can be viewed here:
The full text of the Jubilee Act of Acceptance of Jesus Christ as King and Lord as translated by the Bishops’ Conference:
O Immortal King of Ages, Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior! In the Jubilee Year of the 1050th anniversary of Poland’s Baptism, in the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, we Poles stand here before you [together with our authorities, clergy and laity] to acknowledge your reign, to submit ourselves to your law, to entrust and consecrate to you our Fatherland and our whole people.