21 Jul 2016
Editor's blog WYD 2016
Days in the Diocese - Day 1 Sosnowiec
We had the luxury of a ‘sleep-in’ today with a wake-up call at 7am and departure at 8.30am as we commenced the next stage of our journey to Days in the Diocese.
We soon left the city behind and drove through rolling hills and lush countryside to the Sosnowiec region which was once considered to have the worst pollution in the world because of its mining industry. Much has been done to remedy this and although some of Sosnowiec still appears to be quite industrial, the clear blue sky was much appreciated after a couple of coolish, cloudy days.
Our destination was the more rural Bedzin-Grodzcu in the north eastern part of the Silesia Province, and when we arrived at our host parish of St Katarzyny (St Catherine) we were thrilled to see a large group of parishioners there to welcome us with WYD flags, singing and a loaf of bread to share.
Grodzcu is a pretty town with lovely, well-kept gardens and two-storey houses, something of a rarity in Poland where most people live in high-rise apartments. After being assigned our hosts, Agnesha and her 10-year-old daughter Paula, Basia and I went to their home, dubbed the White House by us for obvious reasons, and we were greeted with lots of kisses by the grandparents Zigmont and Jadwiga who live on the ground floor.
With Polish-born Basia translating as much as possible, we chatted over coffee and warm home-cooked apple cake, and after some unpacking were back at the table for a delicious lunch.
We learned that Paula rides horses, plays the guitar and sings; the highlight of our day was her solo performance of a famous Polish song which brought tears to Basia’s eyes (and her proud grandma too). In the afternoon we went to the horse riding club and were amazed to see so many young girls grooming their horses and ponies skilfully before their riding classes.
We were amused to see a cat hotel, a hairdresser for dogs and an animal pharmacy adjacent to the riding school which was situated in a beautiful forest. There was also a restaurant and after bumping into another host family and their billets we compared notes on the state of Catholicism in Poland and Australia over Coca-Cola and pivo (beer).
In the evening we walked to St Catherine’s Church for Mass with our group and pilgrims from France, Burundi and Ecuador as well as local parishioners. The Mass was in Polish and was followed by the weekly novena.
Gathering outside the church, we exchanged stories with our fellow travellers and discovered Fr Charles and Fr Michael had been picking berries, Clement had ridden a quad bike for the first time, some of the girls had visited a castle and so on. As a first timer to Days in the Diocese, I am seeing already the benefits of experiencing the Polish way of life at the local level.
Posted by Jenny Brinkworth at 3:27am