Pencil Sketch of Caritas Pulawy House by Rev’d Paul Collings
Friday 16th September 2020
Singing Nuns and Happy Children
John 17:20-21 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Before setting off on the next leg of our journey, we visited Palace of Culture and Science formally known as the Stalin Palace of Culture a notable high-rise building in central Warsaw, Poland. With a total height of 237 metres (778 ft) it is the tallest building in Poland, the 5th-tallest building in the Europe. Constructed in 1955, it houses various public and cultural institutions such as cinemas, theatres, libraries, sports clubs, university faculties and authorities of the Polish Academy of Sciences. We were able to go to the top of the building and look over the whole of Warsaw.
For me that visit just highlighted the mismatch of polish society. Extravagance on one hand alongside poverty amongst the rank and file citizens.
At noon we boarded our coach and headed further east towards the City of Lublin, just 50 miles from the Russian Boarder. We were informed by Brian that the churches in Lublin were eagerly awaiting our arrivals as they rarely saw folk from the west.
Brian had planned that on route we should visit Pulawy House, a home for 70 7-17 year old boys run my the Missionary Sisters of Benedict through Caritas. Inspired by Catholic faith, Caritas is the helping hand of the Catholic Church – reaching out to the poor, vulnerable and excluded, regardless of race or religion, with the aim building a world based on justice and fraternal love. The boy’s placed in the care of the sisters where in many cases orphans, or had significant learning difficulties.
As we entered the Pulawy, we were informed that it was a city with the worst drug problem in the whole of Poland.
The coach parked a little way from the home and we formed up in the street and marched through the gates of the home. You can imagine the look on the lads faces as we entered their courtyard; they were fascinated by the instruments. I asked the band to turn to the music, “Give me joy in my heart” as be unpacked every percussion instrument that we had on the bus. Cymbals, triangles, drums and helped a number of the lads to join in our music. The sisters complete in their wimples and habits where clapping and dancing across the yard, with one sister pinning an “Armia Zbawienia” crimson ribbon on her veil of another.
For a moment, that which had divided the Catholic and Protestant churches for centuries, paled into insignificance as I saw the joy on those young faces and the common sharing of faith with the sisters. This alone was worth making the 1252 mile journey. Not to be outdone, the boys wanted to march around the courtyard so we formed up with our new percussion section and dancing sisters and paraded around the outside of the home. I can’t help but think that there must have been smiles in heaven that afternoon.
This was yet another rung on my personal ecumenical ladder that has never left me and continues to grow with the desires to see more of the unifying desire of Jesus who continues to prayers, “that they might be one.”
Dear Lord, we ask that you fill us with your Spirit of love and unity among believers all across the nations.
We ask for your help to set aside our differences and look to the greater cause, the cause of Christ. We ask that you would help us to truly live a life of love. We know that this is only possible through the power of your Spirit, so we pray for your Spirit to move across all lands in fresh ways. Turn your people back to you. Draw others to come to know you. Thank you that you are always with us to give us great purpose, hope and renewed joy. Amen