Yesterday, the Archdiocese of Kraków held a ceremony at the Basilica of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Wadowice, John Paul II’s birthplace.
In the ceremony, Archbishop of Kraków Marek Jędraszewski announced the Diocese had formally established tribunals to investigate whether JPII’s parents, Servants of God Karol and Emilia Wojtyła should be named Venerable.
The tribunal will compile evidence that the Wojtyłas lived lives “heroic in virtue” – both the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, and the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.
The Diocese of Kraków appointed Monsignor Sławomir Oder as the postulator of the cause – the ‘lead investigator’ to gather evidence in the case. Oder was well known as the postulator for their child’s cause as well, Saint John Paul II. He said the whole Church in Poland “gave thanks” and “greeted with joy” the news:
“In fact, looking at this event, I am reminded of the words that John Paul II pronounced during the Mass of canonization of Saint Kinga, known as Cunegonda, celebrated in Poland , when he said that saints are born of saints, are nurtured by the saints, draw life from the saints and their call to holiness. And in that context he spoke precisely of the family as the privileged place where holiness finds its roots, the first sources where it can mature throughout life.”
Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Pope John Paul II’s personal secretary, attended the ceremony, saying
“I want to testify here, at this point, in the presence of the archbishop and the assembled priests, that as a long-standing secretary of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła and Pope John Paul II, I heard from him many times that he had holy parents.”
Also in attendance was Father Paweł Rytel-Andrianik, spokesman for the Polish bishops’ conference, who said:
“The processes of beatification of Karol and Emilia Wojtyła … testify above all to the appreciation of the family and its great role in shaping the holy and great man — the Polish Pope. The Wojtyłas were able to create such an atmosphere at home and form children in such a way that they became outstanding people. Therefore, there is great joy of starting the beatification processes and great gratitude to God for the life of Emilia and Karol Wojtyła and for the fact that we will be able to get to know them more and more. They will become a model and example for many families who want to be holy.”
Their announcement provided a short biography of the lives of the late saint’s parents:
“Emilia née Kaczorowska and Karol Wojtyła senior got married on February 10, 1906, in Cracow. The couple gave birth to two sons: in 1906 Edmund and in 1920 Karol junior, as well as daughter Olga, who died soon after birth. After the death of his wife in 1929, Karol Wojtyła senior raised his children alone. He died in 1941 in Cracow.
The immediate family strongly influenced spiritual and intellectual development of the future Pope. Karol Wojtyła senior as a father was a deeply religious, hard-working and conscientious man. John Paul II repeatedly mentioned that he had seen his father kneeling and praying even at night. It was his father who taught him the prayer to the Holy Spirit which accompanied him to the end of his life.
Emilia Wojtyła graduated from the monastery school of the Sisters of Divine Love. With full dedication and love, she ran the house and looked after the sons Edmund and Karol.”
The prayer his father taught him that he prayed everyday till he died was the Veni Creator Spiritus, or “Come Creator Spirit,” which you can learn more about and how to pray it here.
The Mass after the ceremony was livestreamed: