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italianangielski

italian
Tra Wadowice e la santità

Tra Wadowice e la santità Quando il 16 ottobre del 1978 il fumo bianco sopra il Vaticano annunciò l’elezione di un nuovo papa, il mondo intero si accorse di non sapere nulla sul cardinale Karol Wojtyła che assunse il nome di Giovanni Paolo II. Gli inviati dei mass media si recarono in Polonia per cercare notizie su di lui. Arrivavano a Cracovia, a Wadowice oppure a Kalwaria Zebrzydowska allo scopo di scoprire una sorte incredibile che aveva formato un uomo che durante 27 anni del suo pontificato influenzò così tanto la Chiesa e tutto il mondo.
“Tutto iniziò qui”, diceva Giovanni Paolo II nel 1999 con lo sguardo fiero su Wadowice. Guardava la piazza del suo paese natale in quel momento quasi dalla stessa prospettiva di un bambino. Nacque in una casa distante di pochi passi dalla chiesa barocca locale. Lungo i successivi anni la vita del futuro papa si concentrava in questo piccolo paese sul quale le prime notizie storiche risalgono al XIV secolo.
Vi frequentava il ginnasio, praticava con tanto piacere lo sport. Suo padre, di nome Karol anche lui, ufficiale militare, lo portava a fare le escursioni nelle vicine montagne o sui sentieri del Santuario della Passione a Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. Era chierichetto, partecipava alle rappresentazioni teatrali scolastiche. Proprio a Wadowice fu toccato dalle prime tragedie familiari: nel 1929 morì sua madre e nel 1932 suo fratello maggiore Edmund.
Nel 1938 Karol Wojtyła traslocò con il padre a Cracovia dato che intraprese gli studi di letteratura polacca all’Università Jagellonica. Dedicava tanto tempo allo studio ma anche all’attività letteraria. Poco dopo l’inizio della seconda guerra mondiale perse l’ultimo dei suoi cari, il padre. In quel periodo cominciò il lavoro fisico nella cava di pietra. Partecipò anche all’attività del clandestino Teatro Rapsodico.
Nel 1942 decise di iscriversi alla facoltà di studi teologici al seminario anche esso clandestino, invece nel 1945 si trasferì all’Università Jagellonica. L’ordinazione sacerdotale la ricevette dal metropolita di Cracovia il cardinale Adam Sapieha e il 2 novembre celebrò la sua prima messa nella cripta sotterranea della cattedrale di Wawel. Subito dopo partì per Roma con l’obiettivo di continuare gli studi. Tuttavia già nell’estate del 1948 era di nuovo in Polonia e diventò vicario in una piccola parrocchia di Niegowić da dove poi fu mandato a Cracovia alla parrocchia di San Floriano.
Era in quel periodo che si fece conoscere a Cracovia come un sacerdote molto aperto soprattutto agli incontri e ai dialoghi con i giovani. Partecipava insieme a loro alle escursioni in montagna o in canoa. All’epoca si guadagnò un nomignolo “Zio” e tanti amici del cuore.
Così era anche negli anni seguenti durante la sua attività di ricerca scientifica, e il lavoro da professore di teologia e di etica in diversi seminari più all’Università Cattolica di Lublino. Nel 1958, durante una di quelle escursioni estive in canoa, gli giunse la notizia di essere stato nominato vescovo ausiliare di Cracovia. Il vescovo Wojtyła intraprese i suoi impegni con grande entusiasmo. Il suo interesse per la scienza e la capacità di rapportarsi con gli altri lo portarono a diventare il pastore nazionale delle anime dell’ambiente intellettuale polacco. Viaggiava sempre più per il mondo. I gerarchi della Chiesa cattolica ebbero l’occasione di conoscerlo dalla sua partecipazione attiva alle sedute del Concilio Vaticano II. Nel gennaio del 1964 diventò metropolita di Cracovia. Gli toccò la guida di una diocesi molto importante nella Chiesa polacca, poichè il suo vescovo ha sempre svolto un ruolo significativo nella vita pubblica.
Dopo qualche anno Paolo VI nominò Karol Wojtyła cardinale. Questo atto confermò la sua posizione nell’episcopato polacco, nel quale accanto al primate Stefan Wyszyński costituiva una figura importante. In tutti quegli anni rimase un sacerdote molto rispettato e trattato con l’affetto dai suoi fedeli. In tutta la diocesi di Cracovia non c’era praticamente un abitante che non avesse avuto qualche esperienza diretta con il cardinale. Battezzava, cresimava, univa in matrimonio, faceva le visite nelle parrocchie, continuava a fare le escursioni in montagna, sciava. Per girare per Cracovia prendeva il tram, conduceva una vita semplice, modesta, e il palazzo dei vescovi veniva chiamato da lui sempre più spesso semplicemente – casa.
Sebbene dalla metà degli anni settanta venisse nominato fra i candidati al prossimo papa, al momento della sua elezione il mondo rimase completamente sorpreso. Era pur sempre il primo papa da più di un mezzo millennio che non era eletto tra i cardinali italiani. La notizia destò grande entusiasmo a Cracovia. Per un Paese dominato da più di trent’anni dai comunisti e ciò nonostante rimasto fedele al cattolicesimo, quella decisione risvegliò la speranza nei cambiamenti, espressa nel migliore dei modi dalla cinquecentenaria campana di Sigismondo che suonava a lungo quel giorno sulla torre della cattedrale di Wawel.
Già dalle prime parole pronunciate da Giovanni Paolo II alla folla presente in Piazza San Pietro, il mondo capì quale valore rapresentasse l’uomo scelto dai cardinali alla guida della Chiesa. I ventisette anni del suo pontificato furono segnati dall’apertura verso altre grandi religioni, da più di cento visite pastorali in giro per tutto il mondo, da numerose encicliche riflettute e piene di attenzione per l’individuo, nonché dal dolore fisico causato dall’attentato del 13 maggio 1981, e poi da sempre più evidenti sintomi del morbo di Parkinson. Fu anche un pontificato caratterizzato dalla semplicità che faceva crescere l’autorità morale del papa fra la gente comune. Questi sentimenti si tradussero in poco tempo nell’amore universale che non trova esempi simili nella storia del XX secolo nel caso di un capo religioso. Nell’arco di tutti quegli anni tornava spesso a Cracovia, Wadowice, sui Tatra, alla sua indimenticabile patria. E anche qui fu pianto più di ogni altro luogo al mondo. Tuttavia grazie al suo atteggiamento e alla profonda fede ci ha lasciati con la speranza e la convinzione sulla sua santità.

angielski
Between Wadowice and Holiness

When white smoke over the Vatican announced that the new pope had been elected on 16th October, 1978, the world suddenly realized that nothing was really known about Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, who subsequently took the name John Paul II. Representatives of the world’s media hastily went to Poland to trace his history. They arrived in Cracow, Wadowice and Kalwaria Zebrzydowska where they discovered the extraordinary story which had shaped the man who now was to be the greatest influence on the Catholic Church throughout the world, an influence which continued for the 27 years of his pontificate.
- It all began here - said John Paul II in 1999, viewing Wadowice with some amazement. He was gazing at the town from nearly the same perspective as he had many years before, when as a child he had looked at the market square of the town of his birth. Indeed, he was born in a house only a few dozen steps from the local baroque church. In the following years the life of the future pope was centred upon this small town, which was itself first mentioned in 14th century.
He attended the nearby lower secondary school and thoroughly enjoyed all sporting activities. His father, also named Karol and an officer in the army, took him on long trips around the surrounding mountains and walked with him along the paths of the Passion Sanctuary in neighbouring Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. Young Karol was an altar boy and participated in school theatre productions. It was in Wadowice that he experienced his first family tragedies: his mother died in 1929, his elder brother Edmund, a doctor, in 1932.
In 1938, Karol Wojtyła and his father moved to Cracow, as young Karol began to study Polish Philology at the Jagiellonian University. He devoted much of his time to studying, but also to his own literary work. Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, he lost the last member of his immediate family – his father. It was at this time that he began to work as a physical labourer in a quarry in Cracow, as well as becoming involved in the activities of the Rhapsodic Theatre.
In 1942 he decided to start studying theology in a secret seminary and in1945 he continued his studies at the Jagiellonian University. He was ordained a priest by the Cracow Metropolitan Archbishop, Cardinal Adam Sapieha, and he said his first Mass in the underground crypt of Wawel Cathedral on 2nd November, 1946. Immediately afterwards he went to Rome for three years to continue his education there. However, by the summer of 1948 he was back in Poland and started working as a curate in a small parish in Niegowić. From there he was moved to the parish of St. Florian in Cracow.
It was during this time that he became known in Cracow as a priest who was easy to talk to and one who especially enjoyed meeting and discussing numerous subjects with young people. He would often go to the mountain or on kayaking trips with groups of youngsters, and it was during such trips that he gained the nickname “Uncle” and many of his lifelong friends.
Things were not so different in the years to come as he continued his research work, as well as lectured on theology and ethics at several seminaries and the Catholic University of Lublin. However, in 1958, the news that he was to be appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Cracow reached him during one of his summer canoe trips.
Bishop Wojtyła began performing his duties with great energy. His scientific interests and his ability to establish good relationships with people were the main reasons behind his nomination to be National Chaplain of the Polish intelligentsia. More and more often he travelled to different parts of the world. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church got to know him better when he took an active part in the deliberations of the Second Vatican Council.
In January 1964, Karol Wojtyła became Metropolitan Archbishop of Cracow, and was thus entrusted with the task of heading a very important diocese within the Polish Church, as the bishop of the diocese had always played a significant role in the public life of Poland.
Only a few years later he became Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, at the request of Pope Paul VI. This appointment confirmed his position in the Polish episcopate, in which he was, together with Primate Stefan Wyszyński, a leading character.
However, throughout all those years he remained a priest who was greatly respected and liked by the ordinary people. Almost every resident of Cracow and the diocese had had some personal contact with the cardinal. He baptized, confirmed, married, visited parishes, and continued to hike in the mountains and go skiing. In Cracow he travelled by tram, led an ordinary, simple life, and the Bishop’s Palace was more and more often referred to as just – home.
Karol Wojtyła had been mentioned as a potential papal candidate from the mid-1970s onwards. However, when the choice was eventually made the world was completely unprepared. After all, he was the first pope to be elected from outside the Italian cardinals for more than half a millennium. The news of his election caused great enthusiasm in Cracow, with the decision becoming a source of hope, hope that change might come in a country that had been ruled by the Communists for over 30 years and yet was still deeply Catholic, a hope most strongly expressed in the tolling of the five-hundred-year-old Sigismund Bell in the tower of Wawel Cathedral.
The whole world could see the kind of man to whom the cardinals had entrusted the management of the Catholic Church in Pope John Paul II’s first words spoken to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
His 27-year long pontificate was marked by a more open approach to other great religions, more than a hundred pilgrimages around the world, many in-depth discussions, encyclicals full of concern for mankind, and physical suffering caused by both the effects of the assassination attempt of 13th May 1981 and the worsening symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. But it was also marked by a simplicity, which gave the Pope great moral authority among the ordinary people. Those feelings quickly turned into a love so great and widespread, a feeling that was unique and rarely experienced by 20th century religious leaders.
He returned to Cracow, Wadowice, the Tatra Mountains, and his homeland many times. When he died, he was mourned in Poland as nowhere else in the world, but thanks to his attitude to life and his deep faith he left us with hope and a conviction of his holiness. (b)

Information published at 3 May 2011