In 1952 following the destruction of World War II, Pope Pius XII urged Catholics to build a better world. In response, Fr.Riccardo Lombardi S.J. of Italy formed a group of Catholics of various vocations and the Pope resourced substantially this new group. Today, this group has 565 members in 25 countries, e.g., 83 in India, 52 in Korea, 42 in the Congo, 39 in PNG, 38 in Italy and smaller groups e.g, 9 in Spain, 8 in Australia, and 6 in France. Our parish renewal project is from this group.
The delegates of the group meet every four years over twelve days. This year they met in September in Krakow, Poland where I attended as a delegate of Australia. We gathered in a centre for spiritual formation. The Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow met us all individually. The conference uses three languages; imagine listening to a sermon three times in French, Spanish and English!
Krakow is where St. John Paul II was born in 1920 and lived until he was elected pope. This year, the diocese had seventy priests ordained. The city is 97 per cent Catholic with 150 churches. It is the venue for World Youth Day in August 2016.
We visited the nearby Auschwitz concentration camp where 1.1 million persons were executed by the Nazis – a very confronting place. We saw the hair, the clothes, and the children’s shoes of those exterminated between 1940 and 1945.
Today, since the fall of communism Poland is growing economically, with good educational and medical facilities, a safe place with good public transport.   …..Kevin McIntosh

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