John Paul II's Pilgrimages to Poland - Native Context and Universal Message. Comments from a Participant and Researcher

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Ryszard Zdzisław Zajączkowski

Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: John Paul II; Pope's pilgrimages to Poland; the dignity of the person; truth; freedom

The article concerns a relatively small but important fragment of John Paul II's pastoral activity, namely his pilgrimages to Poland: the nature of these pilgrimages, their historical background and teaching - especially to the extent that went beyond the immediate and Polish context. The text is the result not only of reading papal statements, but also of personal observation of the political and social atmosphere. The first two parts contain a concise description of the Pope's eight pilgrimages to Poland (before and after the political transformation). The third highlights out the main universal themes raised by the Pope: the dignity of the person, truth and freedom. During consecutive pilgrimages to Poland, he deepened and expanded the themes of his teaching. This collection of his sermons and speeches to Poles constitutes a comprehensive (devoid of redundant repetitions and omissions) treatment of important social, philosophical and theological issues. John Paul II, when speaking to Poles and about Poles, did not lose his universal perspective; he appealed both to Christians and to all people of good will. Papal pilgrimages to Poland are a significant part of modern Polish history, and their message is a valuable intellectual and spiritual gift.

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