We visit Cardinal Dziwisz’s residence. He is Archbishop of Krakow and was Pope John Paul’s constant companion. He was present with JPII when the assassination attempt was made on his life exactly 35 years ago today. Dave shakes his hand and says “jean projett”. He responds “jean projett” and looks at Dave’s Oblate cross. He explains the importance of Divine Mercy and thanks us all for coming to Krakow. On the way out he shakes Dave and Marie’s hands again and notices the Oblate cross. A kind humble man.
Across the street we enter a very old basilica church and Franciscan monastery. It was originally an Oriental Orthodox Church. Destroyed by invading Tartars, it was rebuilt. It is very narrow and high inside lit only by natural light from stained glass windows. We see the relics of the Foundress of the Poor Clares. We light a candle for our prayer intentions. We see the pew the future JPII prayed in each day before he was Archbishop. It is at the very back of the church.
Wieliczka Salt Mine. 250 km of shafts and tunnels. One of the oldest in the world still functioning. Generally a large cake of sandstone with blocks of salt. Wooden pillars support the shafts and chambers were needed. Polish astronomer Copernicus statute placed here in 1979. Rock salt is 96% NaCl, 4% sandstone. Legend: Hungarian Princess thru her engagement ring down a deep hole and it turned into this salt mine. Horses were used to haul loads. We descend to 100 meters and pray the Chaplet in front of a stunning salt altar and Our Lady of the Salt in a huge chapel chamber. We pass thru a large chamber with Chopin music playing. We bottom out at 135 meters below the surface at the JPII Chapel. Mercifully, there is a lift so we don’t have to walk up 800 stairs!!
Fr. Tim urges us to make our heavenly Mother Mary, our personal and effective Mother. The world needs Jesus.
Day trip to Zakopane, the winter capital of Poland. It lies at 1000 meters elevation in the Tetra mountains which is the highest range of the Carpathians, very close to the Slovakian border. We spend a few hours sightseeing and shopping.
We share our experiences of this retreat on the way home. At the travelers Mass, In honour of the Feast of Pentecost Sunday, we learn the history of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement, which started in the U.S. some 49 years ago from Fr. Albert.
This has been a wonderful sometimes humbling retreat for each of us – we have been exposed to aspects of the Faith and the Church that we were not aware of before.
Jesus, we trust in You!