Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki, the president of the Polish Catholic bishops’ conference, renewed the consecration as he celebrated Mass at the basilica on the feast of the Sacred Heart.
The Mass was attended by Poland’s bishops, gathered in the archdiocese of Kraków for the 389th plenary session of the bishops’ conference.
Poland’s Catholic bishops first consecrated the country to the Sacred Heart on July 27, 1920, at Jasna Góra, the monastery housing an icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa, also known as the Black Madonna.
With the Bolsheviks bearing down on the Polish capital, Warsaw, Cardinal Edmund Dalbor, the Primate of Poland, led the act of consecration.
In the summer of 1920, Soviet forces attempted to cross Poland in order to carry out Vladimir Lenin’s plan to provoke communist revolution in Western Europe. Lenin believed that if the Red Army seized Poland then the Soviets could offer direct support to revolutionaries in Germany.
The consecration was followed three weeks later by a resounding Polish victory over the Red Army, known as the “Miracle on the Vistula.”
The act of consecration was repeated a year later, in 1921, in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Kraków, the year that the basilica was completed.
The act was renewed by the Polish bishops in 1951, 1976, and 2011. Archbishop Gądecki entrusted Poland to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 2020, as the coronavirus crisis engulfed the country.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the consecration, Gądecki explained that the act of consecration had three parts: thanking Jesus for his protection and the gift of freedom, asking forgiveness for sins committed, and a request for a strengthening of faith and love amid today’s challenges.
He said: “This act is a renewal of gratitude for what happened at that time, today also for the gift of freedom and the changes that have taken place in our homeland.”
The archbishop of Poznań added: “There is a need for fidelity and continuity, a need for a renewed profession of faith in this declaration, so that we are more able to reciprocate our love for the love of the Lord Jesus.”
Poland’s Catholic bishops decided unanimously on June 11 to abolish the dispensation from attending Mass on Sundays and holy days.
The bishops attending their plenary meeting in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, southern Poland, announced that the dispensation would be lifted simultaneously in all dioceses on June 20.
The dispensation was introduced following the outbreak of the pandemic. Poland, which has a population of almost 38 million, 93% of whom are Catholic, was initially relatively unscathed compared to other European countries.
But the country has recorded more than 2.8 million COVID-19 cases and 74,447 related deaths as of June 11, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Referring to a mosaic frieze inside the basilica depicting the Polish nation’s homage to the Sacred Heart, Archbishop Gądecki said: “The frieze from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Kraków is a call to make the Heart of God the center of the universe. The new act is such an impulse to recall this truth, which should be present in the life of every Christian.”
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