.- Some four thousand Polish priests - nearly one-sixth of the entire number of priests ordained for the country - are working and serving outside their native land, according to the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper.
The Polish daily noted that the main reason most of these priests leave Poland is to minister to the Polish communities that live in other countries. At the same time, the Polish priests have helped fill a void in some areas where vocations are down.
Contrary to other European countries, priestly ordinations in Poland have always been numerous, Church analyst Ewa Czaczkowska told the Rzeczpospolita newspaper.
Many Polish dioceses have welcomed Pope Benedict XVI’s call to send priests to work in Polish communities in such countries as Great Britain, Germany, France, Ireland, Sweden and Norway. Last year alone some 106 priests left Poland to work in other countries. The Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper reported that this year the number could even be higher as the number of Poles who have emigrated has increased five-fold in recent years.
In Scotland, for example, there is a large Polish community, and Bishop Peter Moran of Aberdeen recently traveled to Poland to ask for “reinforcements.” The Archdiocese of Krakow has responded generously - six of its priests now serving in Scotland. Polish immigrants often seek out priests from their native land in order to receive encouragement amidst the difficulties of adapting to a new country and finding work.
In Poland new devotionals have become popular that include special prayers for Polish emigrants, for those unemployed, and for family and country.