Miracle in Legnica. Our Lord calls us to awaken!

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Miracle in Legnica. Our Lord calls us to awaken!
fot. Roman Koszowski / Foto Gosc / FORUM

”Poland is important to Catholics in Europe – those who want to live out the Gospel. I realized what a huge responsibility God burdened us with. We mustn’t disappoint Our Lord Jesus, we mustn’t betray the Gospel, but we also mustn’t let down those who are constantly looking to us,” Canon Andrzej Ziombra, the pastor of St. Hyacinth’s parish in Legnica, says in an interview with PCh24.pl.


Over five years ago a Eucharistic miracle took place in the Church of St. Hyacinth. What do you remember about those events?

Such events change a man, he begins to ask himself questions, “Why here, why just now? How is it possible at all?” A man of faith can compare this situation with a situation the Apostles were put in at a certain moment. They believed Jesus, they followed him, they saw his miracles but not until His Resurrection did it become the actual turning point in their attitudes. For example, St. John “saw and believed” (J 20.8). No doubt that event strengthened their faith a lot.


How has parish life changed?

An evident change can be seen which was not abrupt but has been happening for a long time. No doubt our parishioners have become more involved; they have begun to understand certain questions concerning our faith better.


Our parish has been functioning independently for over 50 years. We’d noticed poor attendance at Masses and church services. There are quite a lot of dysfunctional families in this area. The problem of alcoholism and drug addiction is particularly discernable. There are many transitory relationships, many children brought up without fathers. All of a sudden this place became an object of pilgrimages from the whole world. I think that many people living in the area have still not realized what happened here, but certain facts are clearly visible, undeniable. For example, there is a 100 percent increase in Mass attendance on weekdays, which is of course also influenced by people outside the parish. We’re aware that it is difficult to change people’s mentality overnight. Certain patterns of thinking have to be reversed over many years. This is a certain process, although my notion about it was at first a bit different. Maybe I was naïvely thinking that the miracle which happened here would cause a quick, radical change.


You mentioned attendance at weekdays. Are there also more people at Mass on Sunday than in the past?

There is also an increase in attendance by a few percent. Our parish we has already had a day-long adoration of the Holy Sacrament for 10 years, whereas now we have managed to organize perpetual adoration, a ceaseless one. It looks like it is one of just several such places in the whole country. With an Argentinean priest’s help we created a network of people who were willing to join through a permanent commitment to adoration at least for an hour a week. Can you imagine that when we encouraged people at Sunday Mass every fifth person volunteered! I think that this is a number that itself proves how deeply our faithful were moved. Altogether over 300 people signed up. I think it’s a great deal for our community, an evident response to the miracle which happened in this church.


Does the parish keep record of pilgrims who come to this church?

The report I presented to our bishop shows that so far about 750 registered pilgrim groups have visited us, including about 100 foreign ones. Several groups from the USA, during the World Youth Day from Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Australia, Canada. Practically from all over Europe except for just a few countries. The information about the Eucharistic miracle in Legnica has reached many, even far away countries. For example, I found one film on YouTube in Vietnamese. It goes to show that the spark that came forth out of this place has spread very fast and far.


Have you had any reports about unusual events, miracles which have happened here among the faithful?

Yes, I have. I’m obliged to report such information through Bishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In March 2016 during Holy Week the Congregation told us that they saw no reason to prohibit publishing information about the miracle. My duty as pastor is to record such facts. I have also received information about conversions and miraculous healings which are waiting to be written formally up. I suppose there have been other similar happenings which are unknown to the parish, and I hearget to know about them from informal sources.


The most astonishing ones are the unusual conversions. I know two such cases of people who didn’t expect them, who didn’t intend to change their lives. Their great joy, their fascination was deeply touching.


One was a woman who’s been living in our parish for many years and her relationship with the Church was limited just to her baptism. She was into some type of illegal business activities, including forging documents. She eventually came into conflict with the law. One day when she was at home she received the grace of conversion. For several days she was not able to pull herself together, she didn’t know what was happening to her. After more than 50 years she came to confession and her first Holy Communion. She was so happy that she stopped her treatment for the metastatic cancer she was suffering from. After some time it turned out that in giving her the grace of faith, God took her illness away. That was a spectacular, unusual experience. This woman does not leave her Rosary now. She rejoices in the Faith and prays for things the people close to her. She has become a fervent preacher of the Gospel among her acquaintances who considered her a nonbeliever not so long ago.


What the atmosphere with the media, who are often unfavorably positioned against the Church?

In April 2016 when we were announcing the news about the miracle we were surprised by the number of media representatives that had come. All of the most important TV and radio stations, nationwide and regional newspapers were present. Contrary to appearances, we treated this interest in a very positive way, even the interest of what would be considered the liberal media. One of the TV stations, rather far from the Church, broadcasted a several minute report in their 24-hour news service.


The media are still interested in this topic. They still keep coming, asking if anything new has happened. I can’t say there is any blocking of information. I’m positively surprised.


As you already stated at the beginning of our conversation you kept asking yourself, “why this place?” What did Our Lord want to convey by that event? What answer could it be?

Why in Legnica? I really don’t know. I have not been trying to ponder that but only to answer to God’s call, because this is how I treat the miracle. I feel rather responsible more than favored. If God does such things, breaks the law of nature, it may mean that He wants us to pay attention to something we might be overlooking, we might not want to see. I’m a bit worried, troubled that again the world heard that in the Host a fragment of a dying heart tissue had been discovered. God repeats the same sign again because maybe the thing He wants to tell us has still not been realized by us. That it happened in a place where religious practice was not common is probably an element of God’s pedagogy. This is how our Father reaches out more to the lost, to the weak.


For a long time I thought that the sign firstly given to those who doubt, who don’t believe. After a few months, I realized that the sign was given first of all to me and other people who believe. I think it might be God’s strategy. Our Lord wants us – people who practice, who believe – depend only on Him. Certainly he wants to strengthen our faith to make us preach the Gospel more powerfully, with higher determination as in the early Church. Christians of that time lived in a pagan atmosphere. However, pagans converted because they were moved by the Christian style of life. They had no structures, they had no Caritas, organizations which we have today. They lived the Gospel and this way they attracted others.


The fact that we’ve had two such cases in Sokółka and Legnica in recent years might mean that Poland is at a crossroads and God is calling it.


I’m getting invited to different conferences taking place in Western European countries, including France, England, Germany. Catholics in these countries look at Poland as the last island, the last country where there is still some Catholic air to breathe. If we give up, abandon the Gospel, in a way they will lose hope.


I can now understand that Poland is important to Catholics in Europe – to those who want to live the Gospel. I realized the burden of responsibility that God put on our shoulders. We cannot let Our Lord Jesus down, we can’t betray the Gospel, but we also can’t disappoint the people who look to us all the time.


In this miracle God is confirming His real presence in the Holy Communion. That he shows Himself to us in the form of a perpetually dying heart tissue reminds us that the Holy Mass if a Sacrifice. In this sign He emphasizes the moment of dying, the Passion, the Sacrifice.


I ask pilgrims, “Why did Jesus die on the Cross?” Because of my and your sins. I think Pope Francis’ statement that we lost the sense of sin is very accurate. We keep saying that Our Lord is Love, that he gave His life for us. All of that is true but the question is, what can I offer God in return? Have we acquired the mentality of consumers: we come to church only to draw from God’s love? I often think, the number of priestly vocations is falling, marriages are being broken, who wants to offer himself? Who wants to give God his life as a gift? Who wants to give themselves fully to God, even by building up their marital union with the highest determination, the marital union that was decided on some time ago? Who resigns from a career, from their worldly success for a monastic or priestly life, to celebrate Mass and other sacraments? Also the declining birth rate is a matter of attitude.


I look at the Eucharistic event in Legnica as God’s cannon shot, a cry calling us to wake up.


by Roman Motoła

transl. Jan J. Franczak


Article was published in 2019-04-17

DATA: 2019-07-29 08:20
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