Pope Francis meeting Pilgrim from the Archdiocese of Łódź, Pope Francis meeting Pilgrim from the Archdiocese of Łódź,   (Vatican Media)

Pope encourages Polish pilgrims to cultivate ecumenism and mercy

Pope Francis receives in audience a group of pilgrims from the archdiocese of Łódź, in Poland, visiting Rome on the occasion of the Jubilee celebrations of the foundation of their diocese.

By Lisa Zengarini

Pope Francis has  commended the Archdiocese of Łódź in Poland for its century-old commitment to ecumenism and charity work. The archdiocese was established as a diocese in 1920  by Pope Benedict XV and has just concluded its Jubilee celebrations.

Communion in diversity is a sign of synodality

Speaking on Thursday to some 2,000 participants in an ecumenical  pilgrimage from the Polish archdiocese in the Paul VI Audience Hall, Pope Francis recalled the great “ecumenical sensitivity” shown by its first bishop, the Most Reverend Wincenty Tymieniecki, and encouraged the pilgrims to continue  to “safeguard his ecumenical determination”. 

He  greeted the large representation of local religious leaders  belonging to other Christian Churches  who have joined the pilgrimage, remarking  that their “communion in diversity is a sign of synodality, it is synodality in deeds” and encouraging them to continue on the path of unity.

Pope Francis  further noted that the pilgrimage is also a “beautiful image of the synodal Church”, which, he said, “actually walks the paths of the Apostles together, as a family of sisters and brothers, coming from different parishes and from different communities and ecclesial groups: priests and lay faithful, married and consecrated persons”.

“I hope that you have not only committed yourselves to the Synod, but that you have already tasted the experience of it, rediscovering the beauty of ecclesial communion, of living the faith together, of assuming mutual responsibility for each other, of sharing with others, even with those who are apparently distant or think differently.”

The Samaritan face of the Church

Pope Francis also called attention to another important legacy of Bishop Tymieniecki’s episcopal ministry: that of mercy, which he said, is also in the “DNA” of the Church of Łódź.

Noting that, today, mercy requires great "imagination” and “creativity”, he praised the works of charity carried out in the archdiocese, even at a personal level, for the sick, the elderly, unemployed people, the  homeless, immigrants and all the poor, suffering and marginalized people , and for children who need a home and a family.

“This is how the Church takes on the most evangelical face, that of the Good Samaritan, who does not want and does not know how to be indifferent”, he said.

“Bishop Tymieniecki knew how to unite in himself the courage of mercy and the courage of ecumenism. He chose the path of ecumenism long before the Catholic Church took it officially.”

He therefore called upon Archdiocese of Łódź to keep the courage of its first  pastor alive and to continue  to witness fraternity.

An outgoing Church

Pope Francis concluded wishing that the Jubilee celebrations may  renew and strengthen the evangelization mission of the  Church in Łódź .

“I wish you the credibility, the coherence and the attractive power of testimony; to experience and cultivate ever more fraternal relationships in your Church; to be a beautiful ‘outgoing’ Church, which just like yeast makes all the dough ferment and has the strength of the mustard seed”, he said.

Listen to our report
28 April 2022, 13:07