The archdiocese that once sent St. John Paul II to the papacy has a new archbishop: Marek Jedraszewski.
The archbishop has special memories
of the sainted Pope and the Divine Mercy devotion he brought to the
“Thanks to Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, later St. John Paul II, the
message of mercy became very important for the world. And this is a
message really close to Pope Francis, too,” Archbishop Jedraszewski told
Krakow is a major center of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy devotion,
based on private revelations of Jesus Christ to St. Faustina Kowalska.
It hosts Sister Faustina's convent and a shrine dedicated to Divine
Mercy. St. John Paul II was himself a devotee and a popularizer of the
But the devotion itself began in the Archdiocese of Lodz, Archbishop Jedraszewski's previous assignment.
“It is really symbolic that I am coming from Lodz, where the Divine
Mercy devotion began, to Krakow, where the devotion flourished. In the
Lodz cathedral, Sr. Faustina saw Jesus who told her to enter the convent
in Warsaw. The beginning of her spiritual life started in Lodz.”
For this reason, he added, “I feel committed to prolong this mission
of mercy in Krakow, even to welcome all of the people coming to Krakow
to pray over Sr. Faustina tombs, and actually touch the places Sr.
Archbishop Jedraszewski leads the archdiocese that at one time was
headed by Cardinal Wojtyla, elected Pope John Paul II in the 1978
conclave. The archbishop recalled his friendship with the late Pope.
The new archbishop of Krakow said that their relationship started back
in 1975, when he was living at the Polish College in Rome to study
philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
“Cardinal Wojtyla used to come often to Rome, and stayed at the same
college,” he said. “Cardinal Wojtyla was really interested in young
Polish students, he spent much time with them, and so he did with me,”
he recounted. “As I was studying philosophy, a subject he was very fond
of, there were many possibilities to talk and discuss with him about
After Cardinal Wojtyla was elected Pope, Archbishop Jedraszewski kept a
personal correspondence with him, “in particular when I was appointed
bishop, since John Paul II always wanted Polish bishops who passed in
Rome to spend a lunch or a dinner with him.”
The installation Mass of Archbishop Jedraszewski came in a favorable
moment for Polish Catholicism. The latest figures of the Polish Church’s
yearbook show a slight increase in the numbers of Sunday Mass
attendance, as well as the number of communicants. About 40 percent of
Poles attend daily Mass, while about 17 percent receive Holy Communion
The research also stressed the strong commitment of lay people in the
Church. In Poland there are some 60,000 organizations involving about
2.5 million people.
Archbishop Jedraszewski told CNA that World Youth Day 2017 was “a
convincing testimony that Poland cannot be considered a de-Christianized
He noted that the statistics indicate growth not only in the
traditionally devout southern Poland, but also in Lodz, a “highly
He concluded that “in the end, we may say that there is an increase
of faith in Poland. On the other hand, it is true that challenges given
from the secularizing trends are big.”
Archbishop Jedraszewski raised the issue of secularization with Pope
Francis, during the Polish bishops’ meeting with the pontiff July 27.
During that meeting, Pope Francis stressed the danger of gender
The archbishop also saw this approach to gender as a threat. He said
Benedict XVI had affirmed gender theory as more dangerous than Marxist
and Communist ideology because “it breaks with the anthropological
vision of what the man his according the work of the Creator God.”
“God created the man as male and female, while gender ideology does
everything possible to cancel differences between man and woman,”
Archbishop Jedraszewski said. “This is absurd from a biological point of
view, and it does not deals just with the human being: gender ideology
has dramatic consequences in social life and in current culture.”
In the end “we cannot be open to this ideology, that is profoundly
against God the Creator and against everything Christ himself taught