DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     June 10, 1999     vol. 10, no. 112


On-going coverage of the Holy Father's marathon trip to his homeland

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Day of Rest in Holiday Forests and Lakes of Youth

          WIGRY, JUN 9 (ZENIT).- After meeting three million people during the first four days of his trip to Poland, John Paul II's agenda for today had only one word written in it: rest.

          The place he chose is Wigry, a small village of 200 people located in the northeast of the country, near the Lithuanian border. It is a land of dense forests and limpid lakes. The village is named after the lake and the monastery built in the 17th century by the Camaldolese who, for centuries, were the guiding light of popular Marian devotion in this whole region.

          The monastery, which was damaged during the First World War and destroyed during the Second, has been patiently rebuilt thanks to the combined efforts of the Church and the government.


          One of the villagers of Wigry said that when "he visited these places, the young priest, Karol Wojtyla, would spend time in prayer or discussing philosophy with his fellow students; they would also study chapters of his first book, 'Love and Responsibility.' "

          "Forty-one years ago when he was visiting here, the future Pontiff received an urgent message from Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski to return to Warsaw, as a letter had arrived from Rome from Pius XII appointing him Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow," the same villager said.

          During the day, John Paul II made a boat excursion through the canals and forests of the region. He left Wigry by car this morning, and arrived at the most important tourist center of the area. But, during his tour, he stopped to talk to a family of farmers, a couple with five children, with whom he spoke for some fifteen minutes on the problems of agricultural work.

          The sky was cloudy and there was some rain, but this Northern zone was not robbed of its beauty. Nor did yesterday's afternoon rains impede the Pope's serene contemplation of lake Wigry and the swans that glided away at the papal boat's approach.

          In fact, John Paul II is not making a pause in his apostolic trip. He is simply continuing in another dimension: that of spiritual communion with his native land, which he has loved from his youth, in the beauty of its natural surroundings. ZE99060902


81% of Poles Consider Pope Decisive Figure for Country

    >      WARSAW, JUN 9 (ZENIT).- Regardless of their political persuasion, Polish newspapers continue to give front-page coverage to John Paul II's trip around the country. Top headlines, including those of the most secular papers, are centered on the Pope's religious message on the different stops of his marathon journey.

          "Blessed are those persecuted in the cause of justice," was the headline on the front page of "Zycie Varsawy" [Warsaw Life]; "Time of New Martyrs," was writ large in "Rzeczpospolita" [Republic]; "The Grace of Martyrdom," headed "Zycie" [Life], in reference to Father Popielusko, killed by the communist police; and "Gazeta Wyborcza" [Electoral Journal], which came into existence exactly ten years ago during semi-free elections in communist Poland and today is the paper with the largest circulation, focused on the topic "Faith and Reason."

          Adam Michnik, director of the "Gazeta" and former dissident, asked Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek to write a column on the Pontiff's visit, where he wrote, "The Pope's message to Poland is couched in terms of the transcendent, and he shows this by his intense appeal to the duty of Christian witness."

          According to Senator Krzysztof Piesiewicz, former collaborator of deceased film director Kieslowski, John Paul II has touched upon the fundamental values which affect the roots of the Polish people. "The past, the present, and the future of our history find a profound unity in the pontifical message," Piesiewicz wrote in "Zycie."

          The same paper published an interview with Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, who came to Elk with thousands of compatriots to attend the papal Mass. "John Paul II has a special place in the heart of Lithuanians, because we are very aware of the important role he played in promoting democracy in our region," he confided.

          On the eve of the papal visit, all the newspapers published inserts and special sections on different aspects of this pontificate. Among other things, they published a large calendar of events, similar to what is printed for the Soccer World Cup or the Olympic Games.

          A survey published a few days ago revealed that the great majority of Poles, about 81%, feel great affection for the Pope and consider his work decisive for the good of the nation. The rest are more or less indifferent, and only 7% are negative. Among the latter, of course, is the satirical weekly "Nie" [No], directed by Jerzy Urban, Jaruzelski's former spokesman. In his latest edition, he launched a crusade against the government's decision to prohibit advertisements of women's underwear and bikinis on the Pope's routes. ZE99060901


      VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- On Wednesday, June 9, Pope John Paul II took a break from the busy schedule of his visit to Poland. He will spend the day resting near Lake Wigry, and make no public appearances for the day. After this respite-- which was built into the papal schedule in advance-- he will resume his public appearances on Thursday.



Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

June 10, 1999       volume 10, no. 112


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