Pope encourages Polish pilgrims to cultivate ecumenism and mercy
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”.
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.
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.