Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, will celebrate the 1,050th anniversary of Poland's Christianity during a Christ the King Eucharistic Celebration on Sunday, November 20 at 10:30 a.m.
The Western New York Polish American community is encouraged to attend the special Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral. It will commemorate Poland's acceptance of Christianity in the year 966, when Mieszko I, the first ruler of the Polish state, and much of his court were personally baptized on Holy Saturday of that year. Several decades later, Poland joined the ranks of established European states recognized by the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire.
Throughout this anniversary year, jubilee candles have been installed in all Polish churches. "A burning flame is to be a symbol of unity and prayer, a token of thanksgiving for the grace of faith and a request for enkindling the spirit of apostleship," noted Father Szymon Stułkowski, Secretary of the Pastoral Commission of the Polish Bishops' Conference.
Since the onset of the Liturgical Year, pastors of the Polish Church have been focusing even more on the Sacrament of Baptism in their homilies and conferences. Eucharistic services have been celebrated on the first Sunday of each month according to the formula of a "Way of Baptism", providing an introduction to the tenets of Christian life.
At the November 20th Mass, the Second Reading will be spoken in Polish and the closing hymn will be sung in Polish, according to Joseph Macielag, former President of the Western New York Polish American Congress, who is helping to organize this special Mass. "The Polish American Congress, WNY Division, is most grateful to Most Reverend Richard Malone for honoring Poland, the land of our heritage, on its adoption of Christianity and its simultaneous formation as a State in 966 A.D."
In 1966, a Buffalo Diocesan Observance was held at the former Memorial Auditorium to commemorate the Millennium of Christianity of the Polish people. A large plaque from that observance still hangs inside the southwest corner of St. Joseph Cathedral.