Poland Starts 14 Years of Penitential Prayer for Sins Against the Family

News: World News
by Anita Carey  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 27, 2019   

Prayers end on the 2,000-year jubilee of our redemption

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GIETRZWALD, Poland (ChurchMilitant.com) - In preparation for the 2,000th year of our redemption, Catholics in Poland are starting 14 years of prayers of reparation for the conversion of sinners.

On July 1, 2019, the feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Catholics in Poland will gather at Poland's Gietrzwald shrine for the start of 14 years of reparations for sins against life and the family.

Church Militant spoke with Joanna Szalata, one of the organizers of the event who said the need for penance arose in the hearts of the faithful "a long time ago."

She said their only intention is conversion.

"We are praying for the conversion of Poles," she explained. "We are aware of the fact that without returning to Christ, the Decalogue, the Gospel and sacramental life our home country will perish."

"In 2033, we will commemorate the 2000th anniversary of the Passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For these 14 years, we want to do penance in a conscious, planned way." Szalata added. "Before we thank and implore, we must apologize."

She said the aim of penance is:

  • Becoming aware of and naming sin, seeing the magnitude of the evil done and its consequences
  • To induce in ourselves a real, sincere contrition for the harm done, begging for forgiveness
  • Firm resolution to mend our ways and taking very concrete steps working on ourselves, real change it means the most important thing — detachment from sin
  • Sincere confession
  • Reparation to God for the harm or the real improvement of life and conversion

Inspired by Our Lord's words to St. Faustina Kowalska, each year the faithful will meditate on Our Lord's Passion. Szalata explained, "This is why each year will be dedicated to the contemplation of each station of the Way of the Cross. This year: Station one: Jesus is condemned to death."

Documented in her Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul, St. Faustina wrote that she was dissatisfied with the mortifications she was assigned for a retreat she was making. She stopped in chapel to pray and heard these words in her soul: "There is more merit to one hour of meditation on My sorrowful Passion than there is to a whole year of flagellation that draws blood; the contemplation of My painful wounds is of great profit to you, and it brings Me great joy" (paragraph 369).

In addition to the Way of the Cross, the other prayers being said that day will be the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary and the Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.

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Our Lady of Gietrzwald

The penitential prayers are to start in Gietrzwald, Poland, the site of the only Church-approved Marian apparition in the country.

Taking place 19 years after Lourdes and 40 years before Fatima, the Gietrzwald apparitions to two Polish girls in 1877 continued the message of Mary asking for fervent prayers, specifically the Rosary, to cure the sick of soul and body.

At that time, Poland as a nation did not exist. It was a region of Prussia, and Szalata said some Poles have theorized that without the apparitions and the following conversion of the country, Poland would not have regained its independence in 1918.


The feast of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus is also important to the Polish people. Instituted by Bl. Pope Pius IX in 1849, he extended the feast to all of Christendom and added it to the General Roman Calendar to celebrate on the first Sunday in July. Later, Pope St. Pius X assigned July 1 as the feast day.

In 1969, reformers removed the feast from the General Roman Calendar, because the Precious Blood is also celebrated, although not explicitly, in several other feasts, such as the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Prior to that, the entire month of July was devoted to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. It was a common practice for many faithful families to recite the Litany of the Most Precious Blood every day during the month.

We can only be saved by a miracle. If the victory comes, it will be through Our Lady.

In recent years, Poland has been reclaiming its identity as a Catholic country. In November 2016, the Catholic bishops along with President Andrzei Duda officially recognized Jesus Christ as King of Poland in the Church of Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland — Church and secular leaders united in prayer, saying:

Immortal King of Ages Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, bowing our heads before You, King of the Universe, we acknowledge Thy dominion over Poland, those living in our homeland and throughout the world. Wishing to worship the majesty of Thy power and glory, with great faith and love, we cry out: Rule us, Christ!

The following day, the enthronement was repeated at many Polish cathedrals and parishes.

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St. Faustina Kowalska

In St. Faustina's Diary, as she was praying, she heard the words, "I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and in holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for my final coming" (Paragraph 1732).

On Oct. 7, 2017, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, over a million Poles simultaneously prayed all 20 decades of the Rosary as part of Poland's Rosary at the Border.

The secular media blasted the event as "Islamaphobic" owing to the feast's commemoration of the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, but Maciej Bodasiński, one of the organizers of the event, said the purpose is to "turn our heads away from what's tormenting us in our country's reality, politics and what is happening behind our west and the eastern border and draw our hearts and thoughts to God."

"In my opinion, the situation of Poland and the world is much worse than that time [of Gietrzwald]," Szalata said. "We are really before a total disaster. An ideological extermination is coming from all the possible sides and no legislation, no good change, no action is able to stop this avalanche."

"We can only be saved by a miracle. If the victory comes, it will be through Our Lady," she explained.

"[Gietrzwald] saved Poland from extinction then, so we want to believe that there and now she will pay attention to us and obtain us salvation," she explained.

Szalata said she wasn't yet aware of all of the details of the program since Fr. Tadeusz Guz is responsible for the "substantive dimension of the whole 14-year program." Together with Abp. Andrzej Dzięga and Fr. Łukasz Kadziński, they will lead the faithful through the 14 years of penance.

Szalata said faithful all over the world can gather in churches, communities, chapels to join with them spiritually on July 1. She suggested they ask their local priest for guidance and to lead them in prayers and vigils.

Szalata promised to update Church Militant after the event.

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