Today, thanks to our dear friend, Father Tomasz, we had our Private Audience with Cardinal Dzwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow. The Cardinal was the Episcopal and Personal Secretary and confidante to Saint John Paul II The Great for about 40 years! We love being with him even if only for a short time. He is very warm and kind and has the demeanor of the Saint.
We walked over from our apartment to The Archbishop’s Residence, also known locally as 3 Franceska Street, and had some time before our meeting, so we went into St. Francis Basilica and started our rosary in the second to the last pew on the left of the Franciscan Basilica … the very pew that Saint John Paul II sat in every day when he was here in Krakow and would pray his rosary. You can’t get any closer than that, except in the chapel where he was ordained in secret……and we will attend Mass on Saturday morning with the Cardinal, Father Tomasz and the nuns who take care of the Cardinal.
Since I was diagnosed with liver cancer last November, they have all been praying for me, so this is going to be very special. We Prayed two Decades of our Rosary and then had to depart for our visit with the Cardinal across the street.
The guard welcomed us and allowed us access to the stairway leading to the Cardinal’s Offices. Father Tomasz came out to the foyer area to greet us. There was a Polish woman sitting at the table waiting to see the Cardinal (without an appointment) … she told us that she was from Alaska and when she saw Father Tomasz warmly greet us, she told us to tell him that she wanted to see the Cardinal (which we did).
As Father led us to the Cardinal’s Chambers, the woman followed us and sat outside until we were finished with our visit. The Cardinal opened the door to his private office and Susan stood there with a big smile and began waving at him before approaching the doorway. We went in and His Eminence invited us to sit with him and Father Tomasz (after Susan greeted him with the Three Polish Kisses).
We had a gift that we had purchased at Prado Nuevo in El Escorial … a photo of our Blessed Mother as she appeared to the visionary during Pope John Paul II’s visit to Madrid in 1982. We also had a small cross made by the Sisters at Prado: the wood had been carved from the Ash Tree where Our Lady appeared to Luz Amparo … thanks to our friend, Consuelo, we had this gift to present to the Cardinal. Susan and I felt strongly that the Cardinal recognized the photo immediately and that he was touched by our gift.
He looked at me with big questioning eyes and said … “Is this for me?”. I said, “Of Course … we brought this especially for you.” He immediately took the small Cross and placed it directly on the framed photo of Our Lady … it was a touching moment.
Father Tomasz then explained things to the Cardinal in Polish which saved a lot of time in translations. We also extended greetings, love & prayers from many who care very much for the Cardinal. We had written down the names so that His Eminence would know of your greetings. He said and read the names of each and every one of you (you know who you are) and smiled and shook his head yes as he acknowledged each name.
The Cardinal then looked at us and softly asked how long we had been married. I told him 27 years, but then explained that because Susan and I work 24/7 together all of these years, I calculate our marriage at 45 years.
Father Tomasz explained in Polish and the Cardinal laughed. Then he asked … “Do you fight?” and I expressed the sign “A Little Bit”! Then he looked at Susan and said “Do you get silent with him?” and Susan quickly responded … “Oh yes, Cardinal … I am very good at that!”. Tom quickly gestured again with “A Little Bit” and we all shared a laugh.
We were very touched when His Eminence, two different times, looked at us and said “You are a very special couple … we will Pray for you both and we ask that you Pray for me and for Father Tomasz.”. We assured him of our continued prayers for both of them.
Father Tomasz then explained my health condition (cancer) to the Cardinal, who has been praying for me. His Eminence told us to beseech the intercession of Saint John Paul II, and that numerous miracles are constantly being reported to his office and to the Vatican of cures through the intercession of the Saint. Susan told the Cardinal that she has been keeping Saint John Paul II very, very busy for my healing. He smiled!
He then got up and so did we, but he went to get us 3 Rosaries that bear his crest and the crest of Saint John Paul II. It was time for a photo op, so we did and it was time to leave……so the 3 Polish kisses and hand shakes and each of us after blessing the other we departed.
Out in the anteroom the Polish lady was still there, and he graciously saw her, as Fr. Tomasz stayed with us. She didn’t last long, but we thought that it was nice he took the time, as other people waited for him, to accommodate her.
We made plans with Little Tom to have dinner on Friday at 8:00 p.m. We always let him pick the place because he knows the best restaurants.
Having no major plans, we decided to see some of the churches and Basilicas that we missed last year and to finish our Rosary and divine in a different one as we went.
We prayed for all of you and lit candles along the way. We saw some very beautiful places and some very old ones.
We were hungry, so along the way we stopped to eat at a restaurant off the beaten path and had a delightful meal, half of which went home in a doggie bag, because there was so much food. Only $25 poorer, we continued our trek. Did I tell you I love Krakow?
After we had seen enough and finished our Prayers we went back to the apartment and settled in for the night, with plenty to eat if we got hungry.
Trip reports to write and e-mails to answer we never got to turn on the TV until late. We got ten new intentions that we added to the list for tomorrows prayers.
Just as we turned on the TV there was a knock at the door and I asked who it was and got no response. Peeking through the peep hole I saw two policemen, so I cautiously opened the door and checked them out. You know the shoes, badges and guns and other things a real cop would carry. They had some documents and showed me they were looking for a man who lived here. I tried to communicate to them that we were just tourist renting so I motioned to wait and went to get our booking document to bring to them when Susan, my trusting wife invited them in.
Now I’m thinking, I have these 2 big men in the apartment and what if they are not cops? I eye balled a few defensive weapons in case, like the iron, a wine bottle and the knife on the sink. I think I watch too many cop shows!
They were satisfied when I gave them the owners number and left thanking us for the information. Whew!!! I later tried to explain to Susan what occurred and she flipped out at how trusting and stupid it was to invite them in. I was hoping she would not have nightmares and I was glad that she did not ask if she could take a picture.
Dobre nov, (I take a shot at this one)
“Dear Lord, I do not know what will happen to me today. I only know that nothing will happen that was not foreseen by You, and directed to my greater good from all eternity. I adore Your holy and unfathomable plans, and submit to them with all my heart for love of You, the Pope, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Amen.”
May the Lord hear all your prayers.
Susan & Tom
Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Most Holy Virgin Mother, we listen with grief to the complaints of your
Immaculate Heart surrounded with the thorns placed therein at every moment
by the blasphemies and ingratitude of ungrateful humanity. We are moved by
the ardent desire of loving you as Our Mother and of promoting a true
devotion to your Immaculate Heart.
We therefore kneel before you to manifest the sorrow we feel for the
grievances that people cause you, and to atone by our prayers and sacrifices for
the offenses with which they return return your love. Obtain for them and
for us the pardon of so many sins. Hasten the conversion of sinners that
they may love Jesus and cease to offend the Lord, already so much offended.
Turn your eyes of mercy toward us, that we may love God with all our heart
on earth and enjoy Him forever in heaven.