CHARLOTTE — An estimated 400-500 people attended a Mass in Polish to honor St. John Paul II and Our Lady of Czestochowa at St. Thomas Aquinas Church Aug. 21. The fifth-annual Mass included veneration of a first-class relic of St. John Paul, a drop of blood on a piece of his cassock from his assassination attempt in 1981.
The Mass was offered by Polish-born Father Jan (John) Trela, now pastor of Blessed Mary Angela Church in Dunkirk, N.Y. In his homily, Father Trela encouraged the faithful to step away from the busyness of their daily lives, seek silence, and pray.
“Today we are living in a very fast-paced world. We are not walking, we are running. We are driving faster and we are not patient. Hurry up, do it faster, go faster – we want to have everything today, if not yesterday,” he said. “Stop for a while. Think of what you are living for. Take a break... Listen to this poem written by Blessed Mother Teresa: ‘The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace.’
“Be quiet, stop talking and start listening. Be open to God speaking in silence.”
“When we start to pray, we are open for all God’s ideas. Also, we can easily hear God’s will and what He wants of us,” he continued. “We can recognize God, who He is and how He acts. Finally, we will be able to discover the same that John wrote for us in the Bible: ‘God is love and everyone who loves was born from God and God is in him. Who does not love does not know God and does not know truth.’”
Seeking God through prayer in silence, Father Trela said, we can better understand how to love others and how to sacrifice for others.
In addition to the Mass, Father Trela heard confessions in Polish for about four hours. Deacon James Witulski, one of the organizers of the celebration, noted that the confession line stretched to the front door of the church. “Confession is an amazingly beautiful and important of our annual Polish Mass,” Deacon Witulski said.
— Photos by Doreen Sugierski | Catholic News Herald