Sunday, April 15, 2018

Krakow Pilgrimage- Day Twelve- The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

"You come to me and unite Yourself intimately to me under the form of nourishment. Your Blood now runs in mine, Your Soul, Incarnate God, compenetrates mine, giving courage and support. What miracles! Who would have ever imagined such!"                                (St. Maximilian Kolbe)
St. Thomas the Apostle

Today was a unique day for me. I attended three different Masses and was able to spend time in Eucharistic adoration. This being the second from my last day in Krakow, and also being Sunday, I wanted to make it a prayerful day. I started the day at St. Mary's for Mass. The nice thing about St. Mary's is they have a ton of Masses everyday so no matter what time you come in the morning, there is a Mass. St. Mary's is the Basilica in the Main Square. I then walked over to Wawel Cathedral to attend the Latin Mass at 9AM. That was a huge disappointment since they moved the Mass from its usual spot where there is plenty of room, to a tiny chapel in the back that was packed with people and there was no room. I left and went over to see the Dominican fathers and went to Mass there instead.
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I then went off and had breakfast and took a walk around town. I made it a point to go back over to the Carmelite church to find the footprint of Saint Jadwiga. The story goes that while the church was being built under her care she felt compassion on one of the stone masons, who was poor and could not provide for medical care for his wife. Jadwiga knelt down and gave the mason a costly buckle from her shoe. As she walked away the mason noticed an imprint on one of the stones where she stood to undo her buckle and thus took the block and laid it into the wall, which can still be seen today. I found it and took a couple of pictures.

St. Jadwiga's footprint.

St Jadwiga's effigy at Wawel

As I continued walking I passed by the Jesuit church, Thomas the Apostle, which is a charming little church. I felt inclined to go in to pray, and a few minutes later I saw they were preparing for Mass, so I stayed. Later on I stopped into the Dominican convent church, the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was closed the last time I came by it, but this time the door was open and they had the Blessed Sacrament on the altar. I was able to spend time in prayer, and get a few pictures of this church that dates from the early 1600's. Spending time today in these churches in prayer has allowed me to meditate on how wonderful God is in giving us the Most Holy Eucharist.

Dominican Convent

Miraculous crucifix in the convent chapel.

I have been reading a book I found in one of the bookstores here that has the writings of Cardinal Wyszynski, who was a Polish Cardinal during the communist oppression in Poland. This oppression lasted until 1989, so it is still recent enough to be fresh in many people's minds. In reading his writings I think I can see why there is more devotion here in Poland than in other places, such as the US. Even though I am not a fan of the Novus Ordo, the people here are for the most part very reverent and have great devotion. For example, you see old ladies using canes that can barely walk kneeling on the marble floor. There are no padded kneelers in any of the pews and everyone kneels for the consecration. There is no talking at all before Mass, unlike the average Novus Ordo in the US where its like a meeting hall. On top of that there is still a national pride that ties into the Catholic faith. How long this will last now that things are much better in Poland who knows. There are still a lot of young people going to daily Mass, so that is a good sign.

A statue of Our Blessed Mother overlooking the streets
In my eyes the American Church is a lazy spoiled church compared the Polish church. People in the US won't kneel without a cushioned kneeler. Everyone genuflects here while in the US most do not genuflect they nod. In Krakow there are confessions all day long in many of the parishes. For example, the Dominicans have confessions from 8AM to 8PM Mon through Sat and on Sundays before every Mass. St. Giles also has it every weekday. I went over to the Franciscans they have it every day during the day. When you walk in these churches there is a priest sitting in one of the confessionals waiting for penitents. It is unfortunate that in the US we really don't have a unifying Catholic heritage like you see in Poland. We don't have the history or the Catholic pedigree that they have. We lack the many miraculous shrines and pilgrimage sites. It will be with great sadness to leave here on Tuesday. I am not saying that I am not thankful for what I have back in the US, but this environment has been very spiritually uplifting. The evening tonight was beautiful so I stayed out to take a few pictures of the Main Square as it grew dark.

St Adalbert's forefront, St. Mary's behind.

Cloth Hall

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