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Our Lady Queen of Poland Day

On every May 3rd, the Catholic Church in Poland celebrates

Our Lady Queen of Poland Day

On May 3-rd 2024, Father Czesław Budek, OFMConv

presented a special Homily in honor of the Virgin Mary Queen of Poland

“I have never abandoned you, my people; I have never taken away my face from you. I am the same as before – your power and strength.” “Bogurodzica” (poem by Maria Konopnicka).

My dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ!

The Virgin Mary stood at the cradle of our nation’s statehood. When the cross erected by Mieszko and Dąbrówka was established on our land, Mary stood under it. From then on, she strives for the Kingdom of her Son to expand in our Homeland. Among the numerous treasures and values the Polish Nation has kept in its hearts for centuries is the ardent devotion and childlike love for the Mother of God. Our forefathers have had recourse to Her protection for a thousand years, in good times and misfortune, in years of war and peace, and have always experienced Her help.

Indeed, Mary herself chose our Nation and declared herself our Queen.

Let’s listen: In Naples, a Jesuit famous for his piety, holiness, and God’s gifts, Father Giulio Mancinelli (1537-1618), a close friend of the Polish king – Sigismund III Vasa. He was a great missionary. He apostled in Europe and covered much of Asia and Africa on foot and had the reputation of being a prophet and a miracle worker. He established many acts of mercy, and numerous conversions were observed wherever he came. Father Giulio was distinguished by great devotion to the Immaculate Conception and Polish saints, especially St. Stanisław, Bishop of Cracow, and St. Stanisław Kostka. He often prayed for Poland.

On August 14, 1608, when Father Giulio Mancinelli, deeply immersed in prayer in the monastery of Il Gesu Nuovo in Naples, wanted to pay the sincerest respect to the Assumption, the Immaculate Virgin with the Child in her arms, covered with royal purple, appeared to him. At her feet knelt St. Stanisław Kostka. Father Giulio had never seen Mary in such great majesty, and he wanted to greet her with a title no one had ever honored her. Then the Blessed Virgin said: “Why don’t you call Me the Queen of Poland? I love this kingdom very much and intend great things for it because its sons have a special love for Me.”

In 1610, Father Giulio set off on foot to Poland as a pilgrim. He wanted to see the country that is the Kingdom of Mary. At 73, he took the long, dangerous route from Naples to Cracow.

When he arrived in Cracow on May 8, 1610, he first approached the Wawel Cathedral. While he celebrated Holy Mass for the prosperity of our kingdom, Mary appeared to him again in dazzling majesty and said these words: “I am the Queen of Poland. I am the Mother of this nation, which is very dear to Me, so intercede with Me on its behalf and constantly ask Me for the prosperity of this land, and I will always be merciful to you, as I am now.” Since the time the Virgin Mary appeared to Father Giulio Mancinelli, our nation’s devotion to the Mother of God has increased. Kings, hetmans, knights, townspeople, and all the common people often entrusted themselves to Her as servants and slaves.

On the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1628, Cracow decorated the spike of the tower of St. Mary’s Church with a gold-plated crown. In this way, the town was the first to give external expression to the faith in Mary’s reign over the nation. In the 17th century, many storms passed over Poland, but it was also given many signs of the Queen’s special protection. Mary was still waiting for the state and the entire nation to be offered to her.

When Poland seemed to be perishing under the onslaught of the Swedish Deluge and the king was in exile, the dejected Polish bishops reported to the Pope: “We will perish if God does not have mercy on us.” Pope Alexander VII replied in writing with full force: “No! Mary will save you! She is the Polish Queen. Dedicate yourselves to her, offer yourselves to her, proclaim her Queen, after all, she wanted it herself.” And then John Casimir, King of Poland, proclaimed her Queen of Poland and placed all of Poland under her protection on April 1, 1656.

Mary the Queen does not speak to us from the throne. Although she “sits” on Jasna Góra Hill, she is with us like a Mother with her children. She wants to be close to our joys and sorrows. As the Mother of Christ, she knew adversity, loneliness, misunderstanding, and sacrifice for other people. She, as Queen, teaches us this. Her sensitivity and kindness put us to shame.

We are constantly concerned about our own needs, forgetting that there are others next to us who need help. Modern man wants to rule and command, but he cannot listen and serve. Her royalty is expressed in service to God and humanity. Let it be a commitment and a guide for us…

On May 3, the day of the Feast of Our Lady Queen of Poland, we also honor the memory of the Constitution of May 3 (1791).

This holiday is a symbol of how closely the fates of the Church and the Homeland have become intertwined and how they interpenetrate each other. They cannot be separated from each other. This would result in a loss of identity. We would forget about our roots. Indeed, over a thousand-year-old relationship between our Homeland and God is indicated by the Constitution of May 3rd, which proclaimed its innovative legal solutions “In the Name of God in the Holy Trinity.” It was a sign of a new beginning for future generations, which, despite all odds, would lead to change, growth, hope, repair of consciences…

But Poland at that time doubted its strength. There was much evidence of this. Judas’ silver pieces of betrayal filled the treasuries of many people holding essential state positions. The egoism of individuals and interest groups neglected the affairs of the country and the nation. What was Polish, what was family, what grew out of the native tradition, and the faith of the fathers was not valued.

However, we must not generalize. After all, there was another Poland. The one who founded the Bar Confederation (the Pulaski Family) in defense of the lost independence and the threatened holy faith. There was Poland of the reform camp, which undertook the work of renewal. Poland of the Third of May Constitution. Indeed, the Constitution of May 3rd sounded like a bell of fear, like a call to sober up. We know the sequel: the Targowica Confederation betrayal, the suppressed Kościuszko Uprising, the Third Partition… But the soul of the nation lived on in the spirit of the May 3rd Constitution.

Today’s celebration of Our Lady Queen of Poland and the commemoration of the Polish Constitution of May 3rd are vocations for all of us.

We are children of God, but we follow the roads of our earthly Homeland – Poland. Today’s Marian celebration is also a call to love the Homeland – the Earthly Mother. It is the natural environment of every human being. It provides the necessary “oxygen” of culture, language, and consciousness. It also shapes human hearts and consciences. “The Homeland is a space saturated with signs of culture and civilization that create our identity,”  said Karolina Lanckorońska.

And today? Poor knowledge of history, “long weekends”, trips to supermarkets or out of town, fewer and fewer national flags in our homes… The understanding of tradition and the shape of the past is becoming increasingly weaker. This is where we can assume – the indifference to the May 3rd holiday and values coming from this anniversary that this day brings. Indifference to the past destroys patriotism, and this is what we should fear the most. And our Homeland still needs help. Today, Poland needs sacrifice to build the common good, not pursue one’s interests.

Enough of the benefits of the selfishness of individuals and groups! Let’s clear our consciences. Let us be reconciled with God and among ourselves. Poland needs great prayer. During prayer, we are more united and closer to each other. This was shown by the time of the death and burial of St. John Paul II in 2005 and his beatification and canonization. Then we were sad and cried, but we were united in pain and with each other. But later, we were smiling, ready to help each other. We were united under one symbol: the red and white flag.

Brothers and sisters! Today’s ceremony is a call to all of us to take responsibility for everything that constitutes Poland. It is also a challenge, especially for young people. The future of the Church and the Homeland in the new century and millennium lies in our hands.

And remember… “I have never abandoned you, people; I have never taken away my face from you. I am the same as before – your power and strength.” – “Bogurodzica” (poem by Maria Konopnicka).

Amen!

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