Independent Trade Union SOLIDARITY in Poland is celebrating 30th Anniversary this week. On this occasion the special concelebrated Mass in Polish was given at 11:30 AM, Sunday, August 29 in St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY. Fr. Marek Sobczak CM, pastor, presided and Fr. Jan Urbaniak CM was concelebrant. In this way the parish commemorated the events from 1980, when after over two weeks of nation wide strike and workers’ protest communist authority was forced to sign agreement with new workers organization. The agreement guaranteed creation of trade union, first such behind Iron Curtain not controlled by the communist party and government. This victory in peaceful battle ignited the light of freedom and change which lead Poland and other East European countries to get rid of the communist regime. Thanks to to this victory, after 30 years Poland is enjoying freedom, democracy and membership in European and world organization as strong and proud nation. August 31, 1980 was one of the most significant and important events in Polish history in at least 20th century.
The liturgy was a unique character and the church was decorated for the occasion. A commemorative wrath with white and red sashes and “SOLIDARNOŚĆ” (Solidarity) inscription on it, was laid in front of the altar. Various flag bearers and Solidarity representatives were lead to the church by priests and altar servers. As usual, members of the Sea League (Liga Morska) dressed in white uniformed bearing flags were present as well as few representatives of local Polish-American organizations and veterans.
Fr. Sobczak gave the homily during the Mass. At the beginning he reminded the moments from Pope’s John Paul II first visit to Poland in 1979 with the significant words which later often were reminded as encouragement for Poles to change their situation and struggle for freedom: “June 1979. A huge crowd of Poles gathered in Victory Square in Warsaw, and millions on television with bated breath, listening to the homily of Pope John Paul II, in which these important words were heard: ‘Let Thy Spirit descend and renew the face of the earth. This land.”
“Spirit descended and filled the hearts of Poles with hope”, he continued. “Wind of renewal blew, with the strength of Chinook from the Tatra Mountains to the Baltic Sea. And in August 1980, after years of sprouting will of independence, the “Solidarity”, which led to great changes in Poland and Europe was born. For years, Polish people bent under the burden of totalitarian, communist regime, now straightened out, matured, and got strong and learned how to live again. In fact, freedom, so longed, redeemed by blood and martyrdom, in prisons and through intimidation, was not given to us only – but as John Paul II taught us, both the Pope and Countryman, – but also the set point. We started fulfill this preset lesson of freedom.”
Fr. Marek has also reminded two other great Poles, Servant of God, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski and Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko. He recalled Cardinal Wyszynski’s words on foundation of SOLIDARNOŚĆ, “the present society wakes up from sleep and no-will, because it recalls responsibility for the Nation, looks for initiatives and solutions; in front of us we must see the whole Nation, the society, the country, we must save the Nation and the family…” and next other remarkable words of blessed martyr, Fr. Jerzy, “we cannot talk about building the common motherhouse, when human rights are not respected and human dignity is demeaned… planned authorization, battle against God and what was from God is the battle against human greatness and dignity; thus great is man for bearing the dignity of God’s child”.
At the end of homily, again he quoted John Paul II from his homily in Gdansk, “Solidarity means one and other; if it is a burden, it is a burden carried together, in community. And so, it is never one against the other.”
Finally, the Pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka said, “may the passage from the significant work of Adam Mickiewicz, “Pan Tadeusz”, encourage us by the spirit to struggle for renewal in the nation… In book one the Chamberlain holds talk to the Judge:
Ah, I remember the times when on our fatherland
there first descended the fashion of imitating the French;
when suddenly brisk young gentlemen from foreign lands
swarmed in upon us in a horde worse than the Nogai Tatars,
abusing here, in our country, God, the faith of our fathers,
our law and customs, and even our ancient garments.
Pitiable was it to behold the yellow-faced puppies,
talking through their noses–and often without noses
–stuffed with brochures and newspapers of various sorts,
and proclaiming new faiths, laws, and toilets.
That rabble had a mighty power over minds,
for when the Lord God sends punishment on a nation
he first deprives its citizens of reason.
And so the wiser heads dared not resist the fops,
and the whole nation feared them as some pestilence,
for within itself it already felt the germs of disease.
They cried out against the dandies but took pattern by them;
they changed faith, speech, laws, and costumes.
That was a masquerade, the license of the Carnival season,
after which was soon to follow the Lent of slavery.