Wednesday, 30 December 2015


Jestem gotowy. Idę na kolędę!
I am ready.  I go for Kolęda!

Another tradition at this time of year is the Blessing of Homes at Christmas Time.  This tradition known as kolęda is very strong in Poland.  For the first time this year I took part in this and have been to visit some of our polish parishioners to meet with them, bless their homes and sometimes to share pierogi!!!
Many thanks to all who have made me welcome at this time of year.
Szczęsć Boże i Bóg zapłać


In many Catholic Countries there is the tradition of sharing opłatek before the meal on Christmas Eve  called Wigilia.
This bread is the same as the bread for the Hosts at Mass and is decorated with Christmas Scenes.  It is a reminder of Christ the Living Bread that we share in the Eucharist.  Before the start of the meal the bread is broken and shared among those at table as they wish each other a happy Christmas and blessings for the coming New Year.
I blessed the opłatki at the end of our Midnight Mass so that all who wished could share in this lovely tradition.


Now that we have completed our Advent Observances it is time to celebrate the Incarnation of Our Saviour.
My thanks to all who have helped in preparing our two churches to be fitting places for the celebration of our Christmas Services.
We remember in a special way all the prayer intentions that are symbolised in the Christmas Candles that burn in our churches during the Christmas Octave.  Again my thanks go to all those who helped organise this.
I am sure that you will agree from these few photos how lovely the churches looked for Christmas.
The altar illuminated by candles at St Joseph's Church

The altar decorated with candles at St Marie's Chruch

The Crib Scene from St Marie's

The Divine Infant on the altar ready to be carried
in procession at the Midnight Mass

An example of the wonderful flower arrangements in our church

Monday, 28 December 2015


As we enter this Fourth week of Advent I share with you some thoughts that are based on an idea given to me by the Rector of Wells - The Reverend Philip Thomas.
In these last few days of preparation for the approaching Nativity of our Saviour things take longer to accomplish.  A simple five minute walk onto The Rock for shopping seems to take an age.  This could simply be because there are more people out and about running hither and yon, in and out of the crowded shops in a last effort to buy a gift for that special someone in their lives.
Going about the town at this time of year as a priest seems to take longer as well as people stop me to tell me about someone who has gone into hospital or needs a visit at home or sadly to tell me someone has died.  There are also others who kindly remind me 'that I am coming to my busy time.'  A priest friend of mine says that he never does any visiting in the month of December but simply walks round the aisles of the supermarkets and there he gets to know all that he needs to know about the parish.
These meetings in the crowded market squares of our town at this time of year are simply chance meetings.  We did not know that Mrs O'Bubblegum was going to be out shopping at the same time as us and wanted to share some news with us.  It is by chance that we meet these people.
Today's Gospel speaks of another meeting between Our Lady and her cousin Elizabeth.  This was not a chance meeting. It was planned.  We could say planned by God.  We are told the on hearing the news that Elizabeth was pregnant Mary went 'as quickly as she could.'  It all sounds rather twee and quaint that a family member would go to offer what help she could to another in need.  It is perhaps the stuff of fairy tales or the making of a nice scene on a Christmas card.
It is rather quaint and nice till be examine the facts a little more closely.  Mary set out.  Yes but at the time she too was heavily pregnant with Our Divine Saviour. There is no mention of Joseph so presumably this trip was made alone.  Being a poor family most of the journey was made on foot as they couldn't afford any transport - usually a donkey.  Yet despite this Mary still went to the aid of her kinswoman.
As we come to this final week of Advent we too are preparing for coming of Our Saviour.  But we are not simply preparing for one day - 25th December and then it will all be over and we can get back to normal.  We are preparing our hearts and minds for a meeting with the Lord at the end of time.  We have already acknowledged and celebrated his birth in the flesh.  Now we await his return in glory. 
Will he find us ready or will our hearts and minds be so full of running in and out of shops for Christmas gifts that will be 25% cheaper in the sales on Boxing Day?  When the Lord comes will be find us 'watching in prayer and our hearts exultant in praise' as the liturgy of the Church prayers at this time.
We are not preparing for one day.  We are preparing for the Lord's return at the end of time and none of us knows when that will be.  We priests were taken aback to hear the sad news of the death of Fr Anthony Sudlow on Thursday morning.  He went to bed on Wednesday night and didn't live to see another day - the Lord came to call him home.  Will we be ready when the Lord may  call us to be with Himself.  It could be in 10, 20, 30 0r more years or it could be this evening as you settle down to watch Coronation Street or some other TV Programme.  Will we be ready?
As St Paul tells us elsewhere in the Scriptures - With such thoughts as these let us comfort one another.

Friday, 18 December 2015


Vigil Mass in St Joseph's Church
Midnight Mass
with Procession of the Bambino
and Blessing of Crib
in St Marie's Church
9:15am in St Joseph's Church 
11:30am in St Marie's Church

Thursday, 17 December 2015


Dlaczego uczysz się polskiego? 
(Why are you learning Polish) 
That is a question I have been asking myself over the last month or so when I embarked on a course at Manchester University to try and learn Polish. 
It was also the first question that our nauczycielka (teacher) asked us on day one of the course.  It didn't boost my confidence to find out I was the odd one out as most of the group are learning Polish because they have Polish wives, husbands, boyfriends or girlfriends.
So by means of an answer to the above question...

Uczę się polskiego bo lubię języki obce i zeby rozmawiać ze znajomymi z Polski.
(Because I like foreign languages and in order to speak with my friends from Poland)
It is widely acknowledged that Polish is a difficult language to learn.  A missionary priest in seminary once told me that it was easier to learn Chinese than Polish!!!  I have never attempted Chinese so I cannot comment.
Yes Polish is a difficult language both from a pronunciation point of view and from a grammatical point of view so why would I want to put myself through the difficulties of learning this language. 
Apart from the reason given above I am trying to learn Polish so that I can better minister to my polish parishioners who now make up a good part of the congregation.  It cannot be easy for them who are trying to pray and worship in a language that is not their own.  I remember the first time I went on holiday to a place where I couldn't speak the language - what a relief it was to hear someone speaking English.
Language is so much more than a tool of communication.  Speaking another language implies that you know or understand something about the culture and history and traditions of that country and its people. 
I had my first taste of Poland and its people when I was sent as a seminarian to Poland to teach English to my fellow seminarians.  It is an experience I will never forgot.  Visiting as country that is almost 100% Catholic has a very different feel to it and also a country where the Church has played such an important role in shaping the life of that country. 

I will be forever grateful to Ks Roman Komaryczyko who first invited me to Poland and allowed me to experience a different culture, language and tradition.  Bóg zapłać.

Tuesday was the last night of the course until after Christmas.  We resume our studies in February.  Until then I must wait for the results of the exam took on Tuesday.




On Sunday last we welcomed Esther and Emmanuel into the family of the Church through the Sacrament of Baptism. 
Please keep them and the family in your prayers at this time.



Wednesday, 16 December 2015


For the first time in our parish we gathered with some of our Polish families and celebrated St Nicholas Day. 
The 6th of December, the day of Saint Nicholas’ death in the year 343, is celebrated in many European cultures, to remember the good deeds of the Bishop of Myra, who have been recorded in numerous legends. In Germany, Saint Nicholas leaves nuts, sweets, and fruits in children’s shoes overnight or arrives in person with a big sack of gifts and a book about from which he draws all necessary information about the child and its good or bad behaviour. In Luxemburg, children receive most of their gifts not on Christmas Day, but on Saint Nicholas Day.
The legend that forms the basis for the celebrations of the Nicholas Day tells the story of a poor man and his three daughters. The poor man was lacking the money for the dowry of his daughters. Unmarried, his daughters would be to earn their lives by working as prostitutes. Bishop Nicholas heard of the man and his daughters and rescued them of the bitter fate: At night, he secretly dropped a lump of gold through the girls’ bedroom window. He repeated his action three nights in a row so that in the end, each of the sisters had a significant dowry. Only in the last night, the father managed to follow the charitable bishop and managed to thank him for his positive intervention and generosity. We don’t know whether the women had happy lives and found husbands they loved. And probably we would help the family to find a different solution nowadays. But Saint Nicholas’s goodwill and the fact that he wanted to help anonymously rather than drawing attention to his generosity is a nice thing to remember.

My thanks go to those who helped organise this event. 
I hope that we can build on this in the future.
Dziękuję bardzo i Bóg zapłać!

Saturday, 28 November 2015


A few years ago now when I was appointed to the Parish of the Sacred Heart in Accrington for a fortnight (I stay two years) some of us got together a little group that became known as the Advent Preservation Society.  It was founded so that we could try and reclaim this holy season that the Church gives us to prepare for the birth of our Saviour.
When we reflect how commercial the approach to Christmas has become Holy Mother Church gives us this time to stop and reflect on the Second Coming of our Saviour.  It is in that spirit that the Chaplain of the Society writes a reflection for members.  Here are this years thoughts as we enter this time of grace.

A Message from the Chaplain

Reverend Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Ladies and Gentleman,
Last evening I had a call to visit someone who was probably in the last few days of her life.  As I walked to the house it was cold, dark and damp. The leaves had fallen from the trees and all around was showing signs of death and decay.  As I entered the house and approached the bed of the sick person I recalled the a line from one ouf our Christmas Carols…. ‘down to such a world as this.’ 
This holy season of Advent is given to us by Holy Mother Church so that we can prepare our hearts and minds to receive the One who is coming at the end of time to judge the quick and the dead by fire.  Will He find us watching in vigil and prayer with our hearts cleansed by bodily penance?  This great season of grace is given to us so that we might prepare the Advent of our dear Saviour. 
When that will be no one knows the day or the hour.  It could be the 25th December or it could be at some other time.  Will we be ready or will we be so caught up in the things around us that we forget the reason why we are celebrating?  Will we return from our late night shopping and get so entangled in the wrapping paper and the tinsel so that not a prayer is said? It is very tempting to allow ourselves to be sucked into the ways of the world with its ‘shop till you drop’ mentality and emphasis on materialism where there is no place for Christ.
As members of the Advent Preparation Society our task is greater than ever in getting people to concentrate on the real meaning of the Season and to take time to prepare in heart and mind so that we may be ready to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass.
As this Advent Season begins my prayer for you all is that it will be a time of grace.  At time for us to spend in prayer awaiting the Advent of our dear Saviour.  May the Lord grant us His graces to be ever watchful and ready for Him. May the Lord richly bless all your endeavours in the service of His Holy Church and I commend each and every one of you to the Intercession of Our Blessed Lady who brought the Christ Child into this world.
May I take this opportunity to remind members that their annual subscriptions are now due and should be paid as promptly as possible.
Please also remember in your prayers the Co-Founder of the Society, Mr Leo Warren and our devoted Vice Chairman Mr Peter Schofield.  May they rest in peace and rise in glory.   

With all the blessings of Advent
Fr. Francis Wadsworth
Chaplain General

Thursday, 26 November 2015


We are blest in our parish to have two excellent primary schools. Every time I visit them I am always impressed by the quality of teaching and learning that takes place in our schools but with our Catholic schools I always feel there is a special 'value added' dimension.  That surely stems from our Faith perspective where every child is valued and  matters as we believe they are created in the image and likeness of God.
In both our schools I see great examples how the faith is taught in the classroom but also put into practice in the daily life of the school.  When I was first ordained I remember a teacher saying to me 'Father our schools are not simply state schools with RE Departments attached.  Our Faith permeates everything that we do'.  This is certainly the case in our two excellent primary schools
I know that it is not always possible for parishioners to visist our schools and see first hand the excellent work that goes on there but through the medium of technology we are able to have a glimpse into school life by looking at the schools websites and blogs.
I hope that you will take a moment to look at the following links and see for yourselves the excellent work that is being done in the name of our parish by our dedicated teaching staff for the benefit of our young people.




Sunday, 22 November 2015



Pastoral Letter of the

Right Reverend John Arnold

Bishop of Salford
To be read in all Churches on the weekend of 21st/22nd November, 2015,
the Feast of Christ the King.

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is important that I write to you again about several matters. I hope that, apart from this letter being read at Mass, there will be an opportunity for you to have copies, or that you may read it again on the diocesan website.
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. Coming as the last Sunday of the liturgical year it is a clear reminder of what we are about and the priorities that we must always have as Catholics. Christ is the summit of our Faith. There is a need to be constantly strengthening our Faith in Him, growing in our knowledge of Him and His ministry, and continuing that ministry through our role as His ambassadors by our prayer, work and example. This is a good moment to take an overview of our progress. I have been your bishop and pastor for almost a year and I have spent that time learning about a Diocese which is new to me. There is much energy and commitment in the priests and people of the Diocese of Salford and I am grateful to every one of you for all that is being achieved.
I must thank you sincerely for the completion of the diocesan-wide consultation which brought several thousand responses. There was good consensus in what was said, with many wise comments and accounts of valuable experience. I have written a report which is available in two forms. The full report is available in parishes and on the Diocesan website and the shorter form – a summary of decisions – should be available to you at the back of the church at the end of the Mass.
As you will see from the summary of the report, the consensus expressed allows me to immediately make a number of decisions about our sacramental life, pastoral life and the administration of the Diocese. Other matters require further consideration and more decisions will follow. I have also been able to ask priests and people to take up various positions of responsibility in the Diocese; some being confirmed in positions they already held and others starting afresh. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who held various posts during this last year and carried out responsibilities with which they had been entrusted by my predecessor, Bishop Terence. That continuity in this my first year has been invaluable to me. At this point, it is sufficient to name only the two Vicars General, Mgr Anthony Kay and Canon Michael Cooke and the five Episcopal Vicars: Fr. Paul Daly (Formation), Canon Paul Brindle (Care of Clergy), Canon Anthony McBride (Education), Fr. David Glover (Caritas) and Fr. Peter Hopkinson (Dialogue and Ecumenism). I am most grateful for their generosity in accepting these responsibilities. Each of them will lead teams of clergy and lay people who will be responsible for the developing mission of our Diocese for Evangelisation and social outreach.
In the coming year we must also turn our attention to the practical challenge of consolidating the parishes. We have too many small communities, far more than can realistically be served by the priests of the Diocese. Many of our current parishes were formed at a time when the Catholic population (and especially the Mass-going population) was a lot higher than it is today. Over the next eight months, through various levels of consultation and discussion, I will be asking priests and people about the best way of naming what, in the Consultation Report, I refer to as “Mission Parishes”. The “Mission Parishes” will each have a resident priest or priests and may well contain more than one church. To allow the parishes to be missionary, lay people will have to take up not only a great deal of the administration but also their rightful part as co-workers with the priests in the task of evangelisation and other ministries. There is no doubt that the Diocese will change quite dramatically and, as I have said in a previous letter to you, the changes will demand a generosity and understanding on the part of priests and people. Having said that, I have every confidence that there will be much to celebrate and enjoy with purpose as we prepare our Diocese for this next stage of the mission to which Pope Francis has called us.
I will be meeting with all the priests of the Diocese in early February and relying on them, with their knowledge and experience of the Diocese, to begin the discussion and planning for this re-alignment of the parishes within the Diocese. Their proposals will be open to your comments and knowledge before any decisions are made.
Although there will be change, much will remain the same and so much of what is familiar will continue as before.
Finally, all this planning and change will be in the context of the Year of Mercy. What better place than this to examine where the Lord, in His love for us, may be leading us and to discover the commission that He may have for us? I am asking that we positively engage with change. Change is inevitable but we can take advantage of it and use it to respond to Pope Francis' call for a missionary church. We can create now a renewed Church in Salford that future generations will be grateful we shaped for them.
Our prayer must play an important part in all we hope to do and, as we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, let us continue with that prayer that Christ Himself will “Stay with us on our journey” .
Yours devotedly
+ John Arnold
Bishop of Salford


Congratulations to little Freddie who was baptised recently at St Marie's
Please keep him and his family in your prayers

Monday, 16 November 2015


A few reflections on this weekend's Gospel
A woman was hurrying home from work. This was her bingo night. Sud­denly she spotted this fellow standing on the edge of the pavement hold­ing aloft a placard which read: THE END OF THE WORLD IS NEAR. She went up to him and said,
'You say the end of the world is near.'
'That's right, missus,' he replied.
'But are you sure?
'Quite sure, missus.'
'And you say it's near.'
'Yes, missus.'
'How near?
'Oh, very near.'
'Could you be more precise?'
'This very night, missus.'

She paused for a moment to reflect on this. Then in a voice full of anxi­ety, she asked, 'Tell me, son. Will it be before or after bingo?'

The world in which we live is a very uncertain one. It seems to lurch from one crisis to another. This uncertainty can cause great fear and anxi­ety. In the midst of this uncertain and changing world we need some­thing solid to rely on. For a Christian that can mean only one thing: faith in God. The psalm of today's Mass puts it like this: 'I keep the Lord ever in my sight: since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.' And of course we have the words of Jesus: 'Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.'
This is all we have. But then this is all we need. The assurance that things are in God's hands. That his plan for us and the world will be fulfilled. Christ will reign. God will reign. We will reign with him in ever­lasting life.
Many people have claimed to know when the end of the world will come. Some claim a special revela­tion from God or Our Lady, and others claim to have calculated it from the Bible. All such claims should be ignored.

Today's Gospel gives us a timely message about the end of the world. Jesus tells us that no one knows when the end will come except the heav­enly Father. And with regard to the end – we should be hopeful rather than fearful. God made us for salvation, not for damnation.

Faith gives us the conviction that the world is not heading towards final, irreversible catastrophe.  Nor is it headed towards mere ending.  It is headed towards fulfilment.  By his Easter victory Our Lord has triumphed over evil and death.  We should worry more about the end of our own, individual world at death, which is certain, than about the end of the world which is out of our hands.  

Thursday, 12 November 2015


The  previous post mentioned that much has happened since we last saw Father Alosza.  Here is an account of those things that he delivered at Mass this weekend

Drodzy Bracia i Siostry,
Bardzo się cieszę z tego, że mogę być dzisiaj tutaj z Wami. Minęło już około dwóch lat jak ostatnim razem tutaj byłem. Dużo się wydarzyło za ten czas. Jeszcze bardzo żywo pamiętam mój ostatni pobyt u Was, kiedy to byłem kilka tygodni, cieszyłem się Waszą gościnnością, kiedy próbowałem uczyć się angielskiego i kiedy czytając bajki przygotowywałem się do tego, by odprawić pierwszą w moim życiu Mszę Świętą w języku angielskim.

My dear brothers and sisters,
I am very happy that I can be here with you today. It's been about two years since the last time we were together. A lot has happened since then. I was here for a few weeks and can still vividly remember my time with you. I enjoyed your hospitality, tried to learn English, and by reading stories helped to prepare myself to celebrate Mass in English for the very first time.

Dziękuję Wam, Drodzy Bracia i Siostry, za to, że jesteście obecni w moim życiu i mojej posłudze kapłańskiej w dalekim Kazachstanie. Dziękuję także za Waszą modlitwę i pamięć o mnie, szczególnie w tym ostatnim czasie; czasie – który dla mnie jak i dla mojej rodziny oraz parafii nie był i nadal nie jest czasem łatwym i przyjemnym. Kiedy żegnałem się z ks. Francisem na lotnisku dwa lata temu, a przez niego poniekąd i z każdym z Was – nikt z nas wtedy nie myślał, że tamto pożegnanie mogło być ostatnim w naszym życiu…
I thank you, brothers and sisters, for the fact that you are part of my life and my priestly ministry in far-off Kazakhstan. I also thank you for your thoughts and prayers, especially those most recent in time; a time which for me, along with my family, and my parish, wasn’t, and still isn’t an easy or pleasant one. When I was saying good-bye to Fr. Francis at the airport two years ago, and through him somehow to every one of you, none of us then thought that those farewells could be the last in our lives…
Stoję tutaj przed Wami – by z jednej strony, bardzo serdecznie podziękować zarówno ks. Francisowi jak i każdemu i każdej z Was za modlitwę i potrzymanie mnie w tym trudnym dla mnie czasie, a z drugiej strony by dać świadectwo wierności Boga człowiekowi i także Bogu za to wszystko podziękować.

I stand here before you, on the one hand to thank both Fr. Francis and each and every one of you, for your heartfelt prayers and support, in what has been a difficult time for me, and on the other hand to bear witness to the faithfulness of God to man, and also to thank God for all of this.
W dzisiejszym pierwszym czytaniu słyszeliśmy, jak prorok Eliasz poniekąd wystawia ubogą wdowę na niebezpieczeństwo śmierci, ale przede wszystkim wystawia ją na próbę wiary. Próba ta jest o tyle mocniejsza ponieważ dotyczy nie tylko ją, ale też i tego którego ona bardzo kocha - jej syna.

W Ewangelii natomiast widzimy inną osobę, która ofiarowuje Bogu to, co ma cennego dla siebie, a której czyn jest wyrazem także jej wiary i ufności pokładanej w Bogu. Ufności, która sięga dalej niż ludzkie kalkulacji i rachunki; wiary, która przekracza lęki i obawy o przyszłość i o życie…
In today’s first reading we heard how the prophet Elijah, in a way, places the life of the widow in danger, but in essence puts her faith to the test. A test made the more difficult because it not only affects her, but also that which she loves very much – her son.

Whereas in the Gospel reading we see a different person, one who offers God that which is the most value to her, and whose action is an expression of her faith and her trust in God. A trust that goes beyond human calculations and sums, a faith that transcends fear and concerns about the future and about life itself...
Drodzy Bracia o Siostry, ostatni czas jak już wspomniałem był czasem dla mnie bardzo trudnym, a zarazem pięknym. Udało się zrobić bardzo dużo w parafii, a mianowicie: zostały wymienione wszystkie okna w Kościele; wymieniony cały system grzewczy i wszystkie kaloryfery; Kościół został pomalowany od środka i wygląda w końcu jaśniej i przytulniej; został przywieziony duży obraz Matki Bożej Niepokalanej i zawieszony po lewej stronie od ołtarza; zostało wymienione na nowo całe nagłośnienie oraz został nareszcie wyremontowany dom dla sióstr, gdzie one teraz mogą w ludzkich warunkach mieszkać i posługiwać. Wszystko to pochłonęło bardzo dużo sił i środków, które udało się zebrać, dzięki ofiarności Dobrodziejów. Niestety już nie zdążyłem zrobić placu zabaw dla dzieci z ulicy, ponieważ przyszło cierpienie…

Dear brothers and sisters, lately, as I have mentioned, it has been a very trying time for me, but yet a time of beauty. We managed to get a great deal done in the parish. To be specific, all the windows in the church were replaced, as were the radiators and the heating system; the interior of the church was painted and now looks much brighter and cosier; a large painting of Our Lady Immaculate was brought and hung to the left of the altar; the sound system was changed again; and at long last the house for the sisters was renovated, so they now live and serve in humane conditions. All this consumed a great deal of manpower and resources, which we managed to gather, through the generosity of our benefactors. Unfortunately, I ran out of time to set up a playground for the street children because I became ill and this brought a lot of suffering.
Wspomniałem, że pożegnanie dwa lata temu mogło być ostatnim w naszym życiu ponieważ od sierpnia zeszłego roku cierpienie stało się moim codziennym udziałem i jak mówi psalmista „moim chlebem powszednim”. W 2014 roku 8 i 12 sierpnia mogły być ostatnimi dniami mojego życia. Zaczęło się wszystko od próby wyrwania zęba u dentysty. Niby coś takiego, ktoś może powiedzieć… Zostały przedawkowane środki przeciwbólowe w wyniku czego powinienem był odejść do Pana jeszcze na owym fotelu u dentysty. W międzyczasie, jak lekarzy walczyli o moje życie – rodzice dostali informację o tym, ze ich syn został zabrany do szpitala w karetce na sygnale w stanie bardzo ciężkim. Następnie cztery dni później była operacja podczas której została przedawkowana narkoza, która była podana na oko, bez szczegółowych badań i wywiadów, w wyniku czego nie mogli mnie wybudzić – wszystko słyszałem, co się działo na około mnie, ale nie mogłem zacząć oddychać. W tym samym czasie lekarze zostawili mnie samego na sali operacyjnej. Pamiętam wszystko… i ten ostatni jęk, i drgawki z braku powietrza, niemoc i bezradność… i to, że w ostatniej chwili uratował mnie młody reanimator.

I mentioned that the farewells of two years ago could have been the last ones in our lives, because since August of last year, suffering has become a part of my every-day life, as the psalmist put it, "my daily bread". In 2014, the eighth and twelfth of August could each have been the last day of my life. It all started with an attempted extraction at the dentist. Such a common thing, some would say. I was given too much local anaesthetic, which should have resulted in me being called to our Lord on that very dentist's chair. While the doctors fought to save my life, my parents were informed that their son had been taken to hospital by ambulance, sirens wailing, and was in a critical condition. Then, four days later, I underwent an operation, during which I was administered an overdose of general anaesthetic, because the amount needed had been estimated, and not properly calculated, with the result that they couldn't revive me – I could hear everything that was going on around me, but I couldn't breathe. The doctor left me on my own like this in the operating theatre. I remember everything ... the final groan, the convulsions from lack of air, impotence and the feeling of helplessness ... and this: that at the last moment a young resuscitation specialist saved me.

W wyniku tego wszystkiego dwa tygodnie później podczas Mszy świętej w Parafii straciłem przytomność i zostałem wyniesiony od ołtarza do zakrystii. Kiedy się ocknąłem na drżących nogach wróciłem do ołtarza, widziałem twarzy ludzie którzy płakali i stojąc na kolanach modlili się za swojego księdza i ledwo stojąc, kołysząc się w każdą stroną dokończyłem Mszę świętą i dopiero potem przyjechała karetka pogotowia. W wyniku tego wszystkiego zacząłem co kilka dni tracić przytomność, a badania wykazali, że wszystkie organy wewnętrzne zostały uszkodzone. Miejscowi lekarzy w Kazachstanie powiedzieli, że nie są w stanie w niczym już mi pomóc i dlatego musiałem być transportowany na wózku inwalidzkim do Polski. Pierwszy lot, który trwał ponad 5 godzin i następny ponad półtorej godziny, zasłabnięcie w samolocie, cierpienie i ból… W Polsce spędziłem już ponad rok i w większości to byli szpitale, lekarze, sanatoria, znowu chirurgia i leki, które musiałem przyjmować w ogromnej ilości.
As a result of all this, two weeks later during Mass in the parish, I lost consciousness and was carried from the altar to the sacristy. When I came round, I returned on shaky legs to the altar, and  saw faces of people crying and praying on their knees for their priest, and barely able to stand, swaying every which way, I finished saying Mass, and only then did the ambulance arrive. Thereafter, I began to lose consciousness every few days. Tests showed that I had sustained damage to my internal organs. The local doctors in Kazakhstan told me that they weren't able to help me further and so I was taken, wheelchair bound, to Poland. The first flight was over five hours, and the next over an hour and a half. I collapsed during the flight, was suffering and in pain... I was in Poland for over a year, most of this was hospitals, doctors, clinics, more surgery, and medicines, which I had to take in vast quantities.

Drodzy Bracia i Siostry – Bóg mówi do nas poprzez wydarzenia naszego życia. Te trudne wydarzenia dla mnie o których wspomniałem stały się okazją dla mojego wzrostu w wierze i ufności pokładanej tylko w Bogu. Bo wtedy, kiedy wszystko się wymyka spod kontroli, kiedy już nad niczym nie panujesz, kiedy w dzień jest ciągłe ryzyko wylewu krwi do mózgu, a w nocy serce spowalnia do granic ryzyku, kiedy co dwa-trzy dni następują omdlenia i kiedy potem kilka godzin trzeba dochodzić do siebie, kiedy życie umyka się z rąk i kiedy wydaje się, że znikąd pomocy – zostaje Bóg. Zostaje ten, Który nigdy nie opuszcza, Który nigdy nie pozostawia i Który zawsze jest wierny, nawet wtedy kiedy my już wątpimy w siebie, w innych i nawet w samego Boga. On jest z nami. Jestem wdzięczny Jemu za to wszystko co udało się zrobić dla Parafii, dla sióstr, który posługują w Parafii, ale jestem także mu wdzięczny za te trudne doświadczenia bólu i łez, bezradności i niemocy. Bo właśnie wtedy doświadczyłem ogromnej Jego miłości i troski od ludzi, także i od Was - i za to jestem ogromnie wdzięczny.
My dear brothers and sisters – God speaks to us through the events in our lives. These events, which were for me difficult, became an opportunity to grow in faith and place, only in God, my trust. Because it is then, when everything is slipping from your control, once you have no power over anything, when by day there is always the risk of a brain haemorrhage, and at night the heart slows to a dangerous beat, when every two to three days you faint and then it takes you a few hours to feel yourself again, when life is slipping from your hands, and when it seems that there is no help from anywhere – God remains. He remains, the One Who never abandons, Who never leaves, and Who is always faithful, even when we come to doubt ourselves, others, and even God Himself. He is with us. I am grateful to Him, for everything we have been able to do for the parish, do for the sisters who work there, but I am also grateful to Him for the difficult experiences of pain and tears, helplessness and powerlessness. Because it was then that I experienced His tremendous love, and from people, you amongst them, a concern for my wellbeing – and for that I am extremely grateful.

Cierpienie, ból, strapienie duchowe i ból psychiczny, cierpienie najbliższych, którzy widzą jak cierpi ten kogo oni kochają – to wszystko ma swój sens, to wszystko ma swoje znaczenie i kiedy po ludzku czujemy się bezradni, czujemy swoją niemoc, albo nie widzimy wyjścia to, co musi pozostać – to ufność pokładana w Bogu, podobnie do owej wdowy, która była wystawiona na próbę, a która wszystko zwyciężyła swoją wiarą. Teraz rozumiem coraz bardziej słowa apostoła Pawła, który mówi, że „i w życiu i w śmierci należymy do Pana”. To jest prawda. Już mogłem nie żyć, już mogłem nic więcej dobrego w życiu nie zrobić, już mogłem więcej nikogo w życiu nie zobaczyć, a tym których kocham pozostało by tylko wspomnienie, ale Bóg rozporządził inaczej. I chociaż nadal doświadczam cierpienia w moim ciele, chociaż nadal nie mam zdrowia i sił - to jednak jestem przekonany, że to wszystko jest potrzebne dla mojego uświęcenia, dla mojego wzrostu, a to cierpienie, którego doświadczam i które jeszcze będę doświadczał, przynosi i może przynieść owoce w życiu innych ludzi.

Suffering, pain, spiritual distress and mental anguish, loved ones suffering for seeing those they love suffer  – all this has its sense, all this has its meaning, and when as human beings we feel helpless, we feel our impotence, or we see no way out, what must remain is the trust placed in God, like that widow, who was put to the test, and by her faith triumphed. I now understand more and more the words of the Apostle Paul who said that, "in life and in death we belong to God". This is true. I could be dead now, do no more good in my life now, not see any one else in my life now, and for those whom I love only memories would remain, but God deemed otherwise. And even though I still suffer physically, even though I still have not recovered my health or strength – I am however convinced that all this is necessary for me to grow in holiness, and the suffering that I have experienced and will experience, bears and may bear fruit in the lives of others.
Nie mówię tego wszystkiego po to, by wzbudzać litość i współczucie nad sobą, nie mówię tego po to, by wzbudzać podziw dla siebie. Jeżeli o tym mówię to dla tego, by podziękować Bogu za Jego obecność, za Jego łaskę – bo w tym wszystkim ani razu nie zapytałem Boga o to dlaczego to na mnie przyszło, lecz jedynie się modliłem, by dał siły przyjąć całe to doświadczenie. Pragnę tym samym dać świadectwo Jego troski i Opatrzności nade mną, a z drugiej strony by podziękować także i Wam – tym wszystkim, którzy pamiętają o mnie w swoich modlitwach i w trosce na różne sposoby to wyrażają. Proszę Was jednocześnie przy tym, byście pamiętali o tym, że życie jest bardzo kruche, że ono bardzo szybko przemija i od nas do końca jego długość nie zależy, że ono jest nam dane po to, by je nie zmarnować - lecz jest dane po to, by nim cieszyć innych i innym pomagać. Proszę Was zatem o to byście czynili dobro wokół siebie i tam gdzie tylko potraficie, bo pod koniec życia – jak mówi św. Jan od Krzyża - Bóg zapyta każdego z nas tylko o jedną rzecz – zapyta nas o miłość, zapyta nas o dobro, które mogliśmy uczynić innym… Ceńcie swoje życie, dbajcie o siebie nawzajem…

I've not told you all this in order to gain your pity and compassion, I've not told you all this to gain your admiration. If I talk about this, it is to thank God for His presence, for His grace, because throughout all this, not once did I ask God why this happened to me, but simply prayed for the strength to endure it all. By this I desire to give witness to His care and providence for me, as well as to thank you – all of you who remembered me in their prayers and showed their concern for me in numerous ways.  At the same time I ask you to remember that life is very fragile, that it passes very quickly, and that to its very end, its span is not up to us, that it is given to us – not to waste, but is given so that we can use it to help others and to make them happy. I therefore ask you to do good around you and wherever you can, because at the end of life, as St. John of the Cross teaches, God will ask each of us about only one thing: about the love we had and the good we did for others. Cherish your lives, look after one another...
By to zobrazować – na koniec – jeden przykład także z mojego życia. Kilka lat temu miałem kontakt z jednym młodym człowiekiem, który miał wtedy 16 lat. Była zima, na dworze -25 stopni mrozu, grudzień. Pytam tego młodego człowieka:

- Co teraz robisz?
- Siedzę i myślę – odpowiada on.
Pomyślałem sobie to dobrze, że ktoś jeszcze myśli. Bo w dzisiejszym świecie, trudno znaleźć człowieka, który nie boi się samodzielnie myśleć…

- A o czym myślisz? – pytam go.
- Myślę o tym od kogo pożyczyć kurtkę, by jutro pójść do szkoły – odpowiada on…

Rok później zabrałem go ze sobą do sklepu. Kiedy zrobiliśmy zakupy, wróciliśmy do samochodu on poprosił u mnie równowartość na tamten czas 1 dolara. Kiedy mu dałem, on poszedł do sklepu,  kupił tam dwie parówki i wychodząc oddał te dwie, dopiero co kupione parówki, małemu piesku, który siedział przy wejściu do sklepu, a który było widać, że był porzucony i nie miał ani domu ani właściciela. Kiedy wrócił do samochodu powiedział do mnie:
- Ja wiem, co znaczy być jak ten pies, który nie ma domu, który nie ma co jeść i który czeka i żebrze na jedzenie…

Kochani, żyjmy tak, by nie marnować ani jednej chwili z naszego życia, żyjmy tak, by potem nie żałować przeżytych dni, godzin i przeżytego czasu naszego życia i jak mówił poeta ks. Twardowski: „Śpieszmy się kochać ludzi, bo tak szybko od nas odchodzą…”
To finish, in order to illustrate all that I've said, I'll give an example that is also from my life. A few years ago I knew a young person, who was then 16. It was winter, outside it was 25 Celsius below, the month was December. I asked this young person:

"What are you doing?"
"I'm sitting and thinking", he replied.

I thought to myself, that's good, that there is still someone who thinks. Because in today's world it is difficult to find a person who is not afraid to think for himself.

"What are you thinking about?, I asked.
"I'm wondering from whom I can borrow a coat, so that I can go to school tomorrow", he replied.
A year later I took him shopping. When we finished and went back to the car, he asked me for what was at the time equivalent to a dollar. When I gave it him, he went to the shop, and there bought two sausages, and on leaving, gave those just bought sausages to a small dog that was sitting by the entrance. It was evident that the dog had been abandoned, and had neither a home nor an owner. When he returned to the car, he said:
"I know what it means to be like that dog, that has no home, that has nothing to eat and that waits and begs for food".

My dear people, let us live in a way that does not squander a single moment of our lives, let us live in a way that later does not bring regret for the days, hours and time that has already passed, and as the poet Fr. Twardowski wrote "let us hurry to love people, for they leave us so quickly."   Amen.