The informal patron of the dialogue with Judaism is St. Pope John Paul II. Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki is the second person in Poland who has great merits for continuing and developing this dialogue. He is the father of the Day of Judaism in Poland – said Archbishop Henryk Muszyński, Primate of Poland 2009-2010, receiving the “Menorah of Dialogue” award on January 15 in Poznań for bringing people, cultures, religions and nations closer to one another.
The prize was awarded within the celebration of the 23rd Day of Judaism in the Catholic Church in Poland that takes place each year on January 17. This year’s main celebrations of the Day of Judaism take place in Gniezno and its theme is the importance of the Lord’s day in Christianity and Judaism: “Remember the sabbath day – keep it holy” (Ex 20:8).
Archbishop Muszyński also explained what the beginning of the dialogue with Judaism in Poland looked like: “We started with publication of the documents of the Church and John Paul II and, where there was no other possibility, I referred to John Paul II. In this sense, the Pope is an informal but true foundation of Polish-Jewish dialogue”.
Bishop Rafał Markowski, chairman of the Committee for Dialogue with Judaism of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, reminded that this year’s Day of Judaism coincides with the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Among thousands of people who have visited this place, there were also Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.
The Day of Judaism in the Catholic Church in Poland was established by the Polish Bishops’ Conference in 1997 and has been celebrated since 1998. Its aim is to develop Christian-Jewish dialogue, as well as prayer and reflection on the relationships of both religions.
Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference
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