Meeting of the Polish Conference of Bishops with the Office of Cultural Diversity of USCCB

On Friday, October 24, 2008 at the USCCB in Washington, D.C. a meeting was held between the Polish Episcopal Conference of Bishops and the Office of Cultural Diversity. In discussions participated Adam Cardinal Maida, Episcopal Liaison for the Polish Apostolate; Msgr. Anthony Czarnecki, National Coordinator; Msgr. Peter Zendzian, Consultant to the Polish Conference of Bishops; Father Allan Deck, of USCCB, Director, Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, and various offices of the USCCB involved in migrant work. The Polish Episcopal Conference was represented by Bishop Zygmunt Zimowski, Delegate of the Polish Conference to Polish speaking Catholics outside of Poland, and the General Secretary, Bishop Stanislaw Budzik.

The bishops from Poland were acquainted with the pastoral work of many offices of USCCB on behalf of the migrant community.The bishops from Poland emphasized the importance the Polish Conference of Bishops is placing on the spiritual development of Polish speaking Catholics across the world, especially in the United States where such a large number settled. They expressed hope that America's Polonia will be faithful to its beautiful heritage, preserve the values inherited in their cultural tradition, become a living testimony of faith and make a positive impact on the Catholic Church in the United States. In the afternoon the presidents of the National Fraternal Organizations joined the conference. The important reflections and suggestions of the conference provided the basis for mutual collaboration between the USCCB and the Polish Conference of Bishops.

It was the first meeting in several years held in the context of the 400th anniversary of the first Polish settlers in the American continent in Jamestown, Virginia. Likewise, it was also the thirtieth anniversary of the election of John Paul II to the Chair of St. Peter. The Ambassador of the Republic of Poland received the Bishops in the Polish Embassy.

On Saturday, October 25th the Polish bishops participated in a gathering at the John Paul II Cultural Center in cultural, social and religious programs. Bishop Stanislaw Budzik informed the audience of a variety of pastoral initiatives which the Polish Episcopal Conference is introducing as a response to the challenges and opportunities which the Church in Poland is facing with heavy confrontation of the Westem culture. Bishop Zygmunt Zimowski reiterated the great solicitude of John Paul lI on the spiritual development of Polonia. He mentioned to the Polish immigrants the two loves they have to cultivate, love for the country of origin and love of the country of resettlement, retaining the most cherished values from their homeland in building the Church in their host country The Church is the fatherland of all cultures and languages.

The day was concluded with a con-celebrated Mass with Adam Cardinal Maida, who in his homily emphasized the importance of the culture in preserving Catholic identity and development of faith.