Saint John Paul II: relics on Hvar!

Published in Highlights

In an event of huge significance to the Catholic population of the island, relics of St. John Paul II were brought to the parishes of Vrisnik and Pitve in September 2021, thanks to parish priest Don Robert Bartoszek.

Dedicating the Reliquary in the Pitve parish church Dedicating the Reliquary in the Pitve parish church Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Pope John Paul II was naturally a much-loved hero in his native Poland. When he visited the UK in 1982 - the first Pope to do so - he held a special Mass for the Polish community at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London, on Sunday May 30th, which was Pentecost (Whitsunday). The mass was attended by some 24,000 Polish Catholics, including all the senior members of the Polish community in exile and the President-in-exile Edward Bernard Raczynski (1881-1993, President from April 8th 1979 to April 8th 1986).

Images from the Papal visit, 1982. Photos: Vivian Grisogono

The Pope's visit was not a state visit but purely pastoral, funded by the Catholic Church. In the various UK cities he visited, his sermons steered clear of politics. The Crystal Palace event was very different. There was a stand selling items in support of Solidarnost, the freedom movement led by Lech Walesa, who was to become Poland's President on 22nd December 1990, after the fall of Communism.

The Popemobile at Crystal Palace, 1982. Photos: Vivian Grisogono

The Pope's sermon to his fellow-countrymen in 1982 was highly charged, with a moving tribute to the contribution of the exiles in keeping their religious and cultural traditions alive, outside of the restrictions of their Communist-ruled homeland. Journalists were not invited to the Crystal Palace event at the time. You can read a translation of the Pope's speech in English on this link; at the end of the transcript is a recording of the original in Polish.

Greeting the Polish faithful, 1982. Photos: Vivian Grisogono

Karol Józef Wojtyla was born on May 18th 1920 in Wadowice. When he took up the Papacy as John Paul II in 1978, he was the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years. He made his mark on the world stage at a time when change was sweeping across the political divisions. He was certainly influential in the fall of Communism across Europe and the breaking down of the 'Iron Curtain' which separated Communist and non-Communist countries. He died in Vatican City on April 2nd 2005. He was beatified on May 1st 2011 and canonized on April 27th 2014. His feast day is celebrated on October 22nd.

Festive welcome for St. John Paul II's reliquary at the Pitve Church. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Pope John Paul II was equally revered in Croatia: the Vatican was one of the first external authorities to recognize Croatia as an independent country on January 13th 1992, following a formal decision by Pope John Paul II on December 18th 1991. The Pope visited Croatia on three occasions during his Papacy: in 1994, when the visit was designated as a pilgrimage for peace, celebrated in front of a huge crowd in Zagreb; in 1998, when he was in Marija Bistrica, Solin and Split; and in 2003, when he went to Dubrovnik, Osijek, Đakovo, Zadar and Rijeka.

Brass band leading the Reliquary procession up to the Pitve Church. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Poland and Croatia are both Catholic countries, and Polish priests are welcome recruits when there is a shortfall of local priests in Croatia. Don Robert Bartoszek, who had already spent time in Croatia, was appointed to Hvar in 2018 on a one-year contract, which was extended in 2019 when he was given responsibility for the parish of Sveta Nedjelja besides those of Vrisnik and Pitve by Hvar's then-Bishop Petar Palić. Aged 33 when he came to Hvar, Don Robert very quickly established an excellent rapport with his local parishioners as well as Polish visitors and residents. His services have also been in demand on the mainland, especially for weddings in Polish in Split. He has done much to bring together Poland and Croatia: his summertime Masses in Polish in Vrisnik attracted around 100 Polish worshippers each time, sometimes even more; he also organised a trip for his Croatian parishioners to visit his native Poland and its historic shrines. While the Covid pandemic restrictions halted many community activities as from 2020, hopefully they will be resumed once the pandemic is over.

Procession in Vrisnik. Photo: Mirko Crnčević

In 2021 Don Robert used his Polish connexions to achieve a special honour for his Hvar parishes: locks of hair as relics of Pope John Paul II were brought to Vrisnik and Pitve in specially designed reliquaries, to serve as venerated reminders of Saint John Paul's lasting services to our communities.

The Archbishop's decree authorizing the relics, in Latin

Prior to the arrival of the relics, the Polish Secretary of State Wojciech Kolarski sent a warm letter of congratulations and support in the name of Polish President Andrzej Duda to the organisers of the event.

The letter from the Polish President's Office

The ceremony held on September 21st 2021 to celebrate the arrival of the two reliquaries on Hvar was extremely well organised and very moving. The relics were brought to Hvar by Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, Metropolitan of Lviv in Ukraine as from October 21st 2008, who was the Pope's personal secretary during the last nine years of his life. The Archbishop carried the first reliquary in procession from the Vrisnik clergy house to the Church of St. Anthony the Abbot, where he led the Mass of dedication, which was concelebrated by Bishop Ranko Vidović and several priests.

Procession heading up towards the Pitve Church of St.James. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The guest list for the occasion was impressive, and included Monsignor Ranko Vidović, Bishop of the Hvar-Brač-Vis Diocese, on his first official visit to these parishes; Hvar's Vicar-General Mons. Stanko Jerčić; Dean of the Hvar Decanate Don Toni Plenković; the Hvar Diocese Chancellor Don Ivan Jurin; Archbishop Mokrzycki's Secretary Andrzej Legowicz; the Split-Dalmatian County Prefect (Župan) Blaženko Boban, representing Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenković; the Polish Ambassador to Croatia Andrzej Jasionowski with his wife; Polish Consul Dagmar Luković; Honorary Polish Consul Josip Roglić; Jelsa Mayor Nikša Peronja; Hvar Police Chief Juraj Tadić; and the Polish Cultural Groups 'Mikolaj Kopernik' from Zagreb and 'Polonez' from Split.

Archbishop Mokrzycki and Bishop Vidović in the Pitve Church. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The Mass in Vrisnik was introduced by parish priest Don Robert, who thanked all the guests and everyone who had helped to make the occasion possible. At the end of the Mass, Monsignor Vidović also expressed his gratitude for the great honour being bestowed on the parishes within his Diocese, and paid tribute to the notable guests in attendance. In his sermon, Archbishop Mokrzycki spoke of how Pope John Paul II had held Croatia dear to his heart, and stressed that the Pope had used prayer and meditation as the foundation of all his daily activities and official duties. His relics would help all the faithful who focussed their prayers on Saint John Paul II to benefit from his intercession, and the love and care which had informed his life.

Bishop Vidović, Archbishop Mokrzycki and Don Robert praying before the Reliquary. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Following the Mass and dedication ceremony in Vrisnik, the second reliquary was carried in procession to Pitve's Parish Church of St. James, where it too was blessed and dedicated by the Archbishop.

Bishop Vidović, Archbishop Mokrzycki and Don Robert in the Pitve Church. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

In Pitve, where Mass was not celebrated, Bishop Vidović, Vicar-General Mons. Stanko Jerčić and the other local prelates put aside their vestments. The Archbishop's message of dedication was read out in Croatian by Don Ivan Jurin.

The Archbishop's Dedication, and English translation

Andro Duboković, President of the Pitve Village Committee, thanked the Archbishop and everyone who had contributed to this momentous occasion in the history of the parish, especially of course Parish Priest Don Robert.

Andro Duboković giving thanks on behalf of the Pitve parishioners. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Children from the parish, including two of Andro Duboković's daughters, then presented the guests with gifts, as is the custom.

Don Robert expressing his gratitude. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Don Robert said final words of gratitude, made the more poignant when he could not hold back his tears of joy and relief at the successful conclusion to the months of effort he had expended in the organisation of this deeply meaningful event.

The 'Wisla' choir in the Pitve church. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Music is an important part of all celebrations on Hvar, and this occasion was no exception. The local choirs and their Polish counterparts enhanced the religious rituals, while the Stari Grad brass band provided rousing rhythms to help the processions to advance, especially up the long lines of steps leading to the parish churches.

The Pitve and Polish choirs. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

At the completion of the formal ceremonies, the Pitve singers and the Polish 'Wisla' choir directed by Janina Welle sang in tandem the popular hymn 'Krist jednom stade na žalu' (see the video below).

Singing in joy and praise. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

It was a delight to see the Archbishop and Don Robert happily joining in the singing with gusto, after what must have been an exhausting day for both of them. Afterwards there were refreshments for all participants, with a special meal laid on for the eminent guests at Pitve's renowned restaurant 'Dvor Duboković'.

© Vivian Grisogono 2021

 

Media

'Krist jednom stade na žalu' Vivian Grisogono
More in this category: « Jelsa's Digital Nomads
You are here: Home highlights Saint John Paul II: relics on Hvar!

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Illegal businesses form an interlocking web in the Brazilian remote region where Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira were killed, threatening Indigenous communities and local ecology

    Near a sharp bend on the Itaquaí River, perched on a steep muddy bank, a lone wooden structure marks the last outpost of a fragile resistance.

    This is the informal checkpoint used by the Indigenous rights advocate Bruno Pereira, an isolated stilted shack he hoped could help curb the rampant organised crime which threatens the pristine rainforest of the remote Javari Valley, the ecosystems within it and the Indigenous communities who call it home.

    Continue reading...

  • Developing countries’ delegates at UN conference seek recognition of small fisheries’ role in protecting oceans and fighting hunger

    Small-scale fishermen and women from coastal nations in the frontline of the “ocean emergency” have accused world leaders and other decision-makers at the UN oceans conference of ignoring their voices in favour of corporate interests.

    More than half of the world’s fish caught for human consumption comes from small-scale fishing communities, yet their contribution to food security and ocean protection is not being sufficiently recognised, they say.

    Continue reading...

  • Tebay, Cumbria: Getting the grass cut, baled and stored in the barn is one of the biggest and most important jobs of the year

    At least three days of hot, sunny weather are needed to make hay, and good weather is often in short supply in Cumbria. We had been watching our weather apps avidly, and a window appeared. The grass had grown long enough to make hay, the seed had set and there were no nesting birds in the fields, so it was all systems go.

    My son had mown the grass and “scaled it out” each day. As the grass is turned and tedded, the seeds can return to the meadow. The sheep’s hooves will trample in the seed and help it germinate to revive the meadow. Unfortunately, the starter motor had gone on the tractor – all our equipment is secondhand, and most of it very old – and I was queueing at the engineer’s parts counter when my son phoned to say that it was raining on the side of Blencathra where he was shepherding, and he was going to race home to get the hay in.

    Continue reading...

  • An Italian town has banned the practice during a heatwave, but if done right it benefits hair and scalp

    Global consumption of water is growing twice as fast as the world’s population and droughts are affecting swathes of the planet. So it was no surprise that this week the mayor of an Italian town in Emilia-Romagna, which is experiencing a severe heatwave, banned hairdressers from shampooing their customers’ hair twice, saying it would save thousands of litres of water a day.

    As we all attempt to reduce waste, that additional shampoo at home or in the salon can seem like overkill. So is what is known in the trade as “double cleansing” really necessary? No, but every hairdresser and trichologist is seemingly in agreement that the second shampoo has distinct benefits to scalp and hair, regardless of skin and hair type.

    Continue reading...

  • Focus of information places health responsibility on those who bear consequences of breathing poor air

    Summer is here and so is the risk of summertime smog.

    To help, Leeds city council has launched an email service to warn people when air pollution deteriorates. This joins long-established air pollution information systems that include the UK government’s webpages.

    Continue reading...

  • The best of this week’s wildlife pictures, including a stonefish, a mountain jerboa and a bevy of otters

    Continue reading...

  • Environment secretary George Eustice wants to amend Habitats Directive, which protects Natura 2000 sites

    Environment secretary George Eustice wants to tear up a key piece of European law that environmentalists say protects cherished habitats in the UK.

    Eustice told MPs the Habitats Directive was in a list of laws he wanted to amend in the forthcoming Brexit freedoms bill designed to cut red tape, saying it was bureaucratic and fundamentally flawed on multiple levels.

    Continue reading...

  • Ministers urged to toughen law to help restore carbon sinks, as figures point to illegal burning

    The government is failing to protect peatlands in England, conservation groups have warned, with the country at risk of losing more of its most efficient carbon sinks.

    Figures obtained by Wildlife and Countryside Link suggest illegal burns of the areas, which are important for biodiversity and carbon sequestration, are likely to have taken place.

    Continue reading...

  • Researchers find there could be many more ancient trees than previously recorded, amid calls for better protections

    There could be more than 2m ancient and veteran trees in England, many times more than previously recorded, researchers have found.

    Campaigners are calling on the government to give ancient trees the sameprotections as wildlife and old buildings.

    Continue reading...

  • Research ‘exposes litany of misleading claims’ by household names, including Coca-Cola and Unilever

    Claims about plastic packaging being eco-friendly made by big brands, including Coca-Cola and Unilever, are misleading greenwashing, according to a report.

    The Changing Markets Foundation says claims that companies are intercepting and using “ocean-bound” or “recyclable” plastic to tackle the plastic pollution crisis are some of the most common examples of greenwashing.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds

  • Here are some announcements you may have missed from the 2022 UN Ocean Conference.

  • Protecting nature starts with science. Here’s a roundup of recent research published by Conservation International experts.

  • In case you missed it: A giant stingray hooked (and released) by a fisherman in Cambodia’s Mekong River earlier this month has taken the title of world’s largest freshwater fish.

  • In case you missed it: The unprecedented floods that ripped through Yellowstone National Park in the United States could be a warning of climate impacts to come.

  • The sunny days of summer are quickly approaching — and Conservation International staff are spending some free time with their favorite books. Here’s what they’re saying about the books they can’t put down.

  • Editor's note: News about conservation and the environment is made every day, but some of it can fly under the radar. In a recurring feature, Conservation News shares three stories from the past week that you should know about.

    1. The world’s largest plant is a self-cloning sea grass in Australia

    Scientists have discovered a new contender for the largest living organism.

    The story: Last week, we brought you a story about the world’s oldest living things. This week, it’s the largest.

    A new study has revealed that a massive meadow of sea grass off the coast of Australia is one giant, self-cloning organism, reports Kate Golembiewski for the New York Times. The species, called Poseidon’s ribbon weed, or Posidonia australis, has been expanding over an area the size of Cincinnati for more than 4,500 years.

    Golembiewski writes that Posidonia is able to clone itself by creating new shoots that branch off from its root system. But it gets even stranger: Posidonia isn’t just a clone. Researchers believe it may also be a polyploidy — a hybrid from two distinct species, possessing two complete sets of chromosomes. Polyploidy occurs in many different species, but often produces individuals that can't reproduce. In the case of Posidonia, cloning itself is the only way to stay alive.

    The big picture: Posidonia isn’t the only clonal plant colony in the world. One of the most famous and largest is a quaking aspen colony in Utah known as “Pando,” which originated from a single seed sometime near the end of the last ice age. The colony now makes up 40,000 aspen trees that are connected by a continuous root system.

    Scientists fear climate change and other sustained environmental degradation could spell the end of Pando, which has been shrinking in size in recent years. Posidonia, which is old enough to have survived the last ice age, may fare better in the face of rapidly shifting temperatures. In fact, Elizabeth Sinclair, one of the study’s authors, said the plant’s extra genes could give it “the ability to cope with a broad range of conditions, which is a great thing in climate change.”

    Read more here.

    2. Crackling or desolate?: AI trained to hear coral's sounds of life

    Scientists can now listen for healthy coral.

    The story: The world’s coral reefs are struggling to survive. Climate-driven marine heatwaves have caused mass bleaching and die-offs, with 14 percent of the world's coral reefs destroyed between 2009 and 2018. Now, a group of scientists has developed a novel approach for detecting the damage: Using hundreds of reef recordings, they’ve trained a computer to track the health of coral reefs by listening to them, reports Angie Teo for Reuters.

    Thriving reefs sound a bit like a campfire, crackling with the cacophony of underwater life. In contrast, degraded reefs are far more silent. New research has shown that artificial intelligence can pick up on audio patterns that are not detectable to humans — providing fast, accurate data.

    “Sound recorders and AI could be used around the world to monitor the health of reefs, and discover whether attempts to protect and restore them are working,” the study’s co-author Tim Lamont told Cosmos. “In many cases it’s easier and cheaper to deploy an underwater hydrophone on a reef and leave it there than to have expert divers visiting the reef repeatedly to survey it, especially in remote locations.”

    The big picture: From motion-detector cameras that provide a real-world view of vulnerable species’ habitats, to tracking devices for monitoring wildlife migrations — technology is helping conservationists find solutions for critical environmental challenges.

    For example, Wildlife Insights, a cloud-based platform developed by Conservation International, Google and other partners, uses algorithms to identify camera trap images far faster than any researcher can. The data is critical to crafting smart policies for wildlife conservation.

    This month, Conservation International and partners launched a new app called “Fin Finder,” which enables customs inspectors to take a photo of a shark or manta ray fin and identify it within seconds. Powered by artificial intelligence, the app can help governments confiscate fins that are illegal to trade.

    Read more here.


    FURTHER READING:


    3. How this golden-eyed feline became the biggest comeback in cat conservation

    This cat is the star of a success story.

    The story: The Iberian lynx is the most endangered feline species in the world. The elusive cat, known for its distinctive amber eyes and bushy beard, was pushed to the brink by hunting, habitat loss and a virus that killed its main source of prey — the European rabbit. At its lowest point, less than 100 existed in the wild.

    But now, after 20 years of dedicated conservation efforts and a successful captive-breeding program, the lynx has made a triumphant return throughout its native habitat in Spain and Portugal, reports Christine Dell’amore for National Geographic. Slowly but surely, the population has inched upward and now there are around 400 individuals roaming the scrublands of Southern Europe.

    The big picture: The comeback cat still has a long road to recovery. Like many other large predators, the Iberian lynx needs a large, uninterrupted habitat with plenty of room to roam. But right now, its thousand-square-mile territory is fragmented and honeycombed by busy highways and other infrastructure. For Iberian lynx to truly bounce back, the isolated populations need to be able to reach one another and breed.

    The solution is to build wildlife corridors — essential passageways that allow animals to move from one safe location to another. It’s an approach that has worked for many other highly mobile species, including chimpanzees. Right now, efforts are underway to reconnect the fragmented habitat and help these felines find one another once again.

    Read more here.


    FURTHER READING:


    Will McCarry is a staff writer at Conservation International. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates here. Donate to Conservation International here.

    Cover image: A large seagrass bed in Honduras (© Joanne-Weston)

  • New technology will help inspectors tackle the illegal wildlife trade using a tool most already have in their pockets: their cell phones.

  • In case you missed it: Two ancient trees bring attention to the threat of global warming, hybridization could help some animals adapt to rising temperatures and companies must decrease deforestation to prevent climate-related losses.

  • In case you missed it: Rising temperatures are disrupting peoples’ slumber, carbon offsets are helping the Indigenous Hadza people protect the forests they depend on and elephants are consuming massive amounts of plastic from dumpsters in India.

  • In case you missed it: A tick that causes a meat allergy is shifting its range in response to global warming, climate change is taking a huge toll on India and species are disappearing before humans even know they exist.