Czestochowa (Agenzia Fides) - More than 400 people gathered on 3 and 4 December, for the feast of St. Francis Xavier, at the Sanctuary of Jasna Gora for the missionary study meeting and prayer vigil promoted as usual by the Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU) of Poland, according to information sent to Agenzia Fides by Mgr. Tomasz Atlas, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. This year's meeting wanted to celebrate the centenary of the PMU in a special way.
His Exc. Mgr. Stanislaw Gadecki, President of the Polish Bishops' Conference, presided over the opening Mass, on Saturday afternoon, December 3. Recalling the missionary work of the Patron of missions, he stressed the value of the PMU for the spread of the missionary spirit in the universal Church.
In the missiological session, the participants listened to the speech of His Exc. Mgr. Henryk Hoser, Bishop of Warsaw-Prague, a former missionary in Rwanda, who presented the current challenges to the PMU. Therefore Fr. Marek Tatar, professor at the University Card. Wyszynski, illustrated the theme "From baptism to mission", and Fr. Stanislaw Urbański focused on the missionary ministry of Holy Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Then it was the turn of Juan Carlos Araya, IMC, a missionary in Argentina.
At the conclusion of first part of the meeting, those present participated in the "Appeal of Jasna Gora" presided by Mgr. Tomasz Atlas, National Director of the PMS, who thanked the Virgin for the hundred years of activities of the PMU and invoked living faith and missionary zeal for all the faithful in the new pastoral year. Then the prayer vigil began, animated by the students of the Missionary Formation Center who are preparing to leave for the missions. Midnight Mass was presided by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio. The prayer continued until dawn with the reading of the texts of the Blessed Paolo Manna, founder of the PMU, and the testimonies of missionaries from various continents. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 07/12/2016)