On the vigil of the beatification of John Paul II -
on behalf of the Polish Jesuits, the Sisters of the Resurrection,
the Pastoral Council, the Women’s Auxiliary and
the local Polish Catholic Community
Welcome to the Polish Marian Shrine, Essendon.
The first Polish enterprise to be established on this site was Resurrection House, bought and administered by the Sisters of the Resurrection on the initiative of Fr. Joseph Janus SJ and with the assistance of the Polish and Australian communities. It began to operate in 1952 as a Children’s Home offering boarding facilities and a Junior school for the children of post-war Polish refugees. As additional property was acquired Resurrection School was built in 1958 and a full Primary School curriculum was offered to both resident and day pupils.
Further expansion allowed the Polish community to build the Polish Marian Shrine, consecrated during the International Eucharistic Congress of 1973 by Karol Cardinal Wojtyla of Krakow. As the first and most significant Polish Pastoral Centre to be built in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, it remains a very popular venue for a variety of religious, cultural and national celebrations. The grounds, exterior and interior walls are adorned with monuments, plaques and stained-glass windows that commemorate historically important national events. Among these is the monument dedicated to Pope John Paul II inscribed with a quote from his address to the 40,000 Poles at the MCG in 1986 during his pilgrimage to Australia: Remember your two-fold responsibility: for your origins and for your destiny.
Krakow, the Episcopal see of Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, the city where “The Jeweler’s Shop” was written, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Among its many cultural treasures is the unique Christmas tradition of making Christmas cribs based on the historical buildings of the city. Each year a popular Christmas Crib competition is held in the City Square. Mr. Antos of Melbourne has crafted five such Christmas cribs over the past ten years and two of them are displayed in today’s folk art exhibition.
We express our sincere thanks to all the performers, directors, artistic supporters and publishers for coming to Melbourne for such a wonderful performance and making this unique artistic and spiritual gathering possible.
We thank the Polish Youth Dance Ensemble “Polonez” of Melbourne for performing the “Krakowiak” regional dance and providing the display of the traditional costumes of the Krakow region.
We acknowledge the Polish musicians from Melbourne, Mr. Roman Syrek and his daughter Alicja for their performance of traditional Polish music.
We are very grateful to the Polish Marian Shrine Committee for their hospitality.
Thank you to all who made today’s performance a wonderful experience.
Fr. Wieslaw Slowik SJ
Rector of the Polish Marian Shrine