Article by Fr. Jacek Cydzik, C.Ss.R.
I arrived in Canada in late November last year. I have had a great opportunity to experience the Redemptorist life at St. Patrick’s community. And at every Wednesday’s Novena, I see many people seeking God’s mercy in the confessional as well as some spiritual nourishment – it all is giving me a good image of Redemptorist service here in Toronto. As my first goal is to serve the Family of Radio Maryja, I have had to undertake several activities during the last six months. But let me first briefly explain what Radio Maryja and its “Family” is. Here is part of the message of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for the XX anniversary of Radio Maryja. The message was sent to Father Provincial Janusz Sok by His Eminence Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, Holy See Secretary of State.
“Radio Maria was erected in Torun by the Bishop of Chelm, on the day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 8th December 1991. During this rather difficult period of transformation from the political system that negated freedom of speech and imposed the government’s monopoly on distribution of information, there was a necessity to create the new, catholic media that could reach everyone with the message of Redemption and with reliable information.
“Pope Benedict XVI (…) prayed: “Mary, the Star of Evangelization, please lead us, lead Radio Maria and be its protectress”. May Mary, the Star of the New Evangelization, lead your Radio to the new people and new times. In this spirit of trust, thanks to indomitable will and fidelity with the Magisterium of the Church and with its Shepherds, Radio Maria could, despite difficulties, develop fruitfully its activity at home and abroad. And with the seed of the Word in the hearts of men, after 20 years of continuous activity on many levels, we can admit that the yield of the sowing is abundant. In the first place on the waves of your radio, you can experience the encounter with God through prayer and catechesis. (…)
“Everyday catechesis is enriched by the presence of bishops and the guidance of the Holy Father. Pope Benedict XVI expresses his joy that, thanks to the Radio Maria and its related television channel Trwam, his apostolic journeys, Wednesday audiences and other events can be received in Poland in their native language. This is a clear contribution in bringing closer the Mission of Peter in your country and among your countrymen who live abroad.
“Not without significance is also the Christian social activity of your Radio. Known and religiously valuable is the community dimension of the Radio Maria listeners, families, youth and especially the wonderful and unique phenomenon of the Backyard Rosary Circles of Children, gathering about 150 thousand children in the different parts of the world who express their love for the Mother of the Saviour through the regular, daily Rosary.
“Out of concern for the formation of young people and for the sake of the Catholic journalists, already for 10 years in Torun has existed the School of Social and Media Culture. The press dimension of journalism is represented in a daily journal well-known in Poland. Radio Maria also supports pilgrimages throughout its homeland by transmitting the Holy Mass and other celebrations from many sanctuaries in the dioceses and parishes. It also follows the events of the Church in Poland. Radio Maria listeners participate in the pilgrimages of Czestochowa, Rome and the American Czestochowa in Pennsylvania.
“The specificity of this radio lies also in the fact that everyone is able to take part in an open discussion “Unfinished Conversations”, participating by telephone in the live program. There should also be mentioned the scientific, cultural and social environments explored at Radio Maria and supporting clearly the moral teaching of the Catholic Church, defending life from conception to natural death and defending the family founded on responsible and God-blessed union of a man and woman and the Christian education of children. (…)” (you can read more at Radio Maryja).
So as you can see there is also much to do, here in Canada among Polish speaking Catholics. Until now I have organized two great banquets (Christmas and Easter). I also went to preach retreats as well as to visit Radio Maryja listeners in Los Angeles, Detroit, Calgary, London, Woodstock, Waterloo, Guelph, Ottawa and several places within the GTA. Now I’m preparing the annual pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Doylestown, PA. Of course in all of this, I’m not alone. Since 2000 an organization under the name “Family of Radio Maria Canada” was established and was granted charitable organization status. So there are some people who are ready to contribute their time and energy for Radio Maryja in Canada. So thanks to God’s mercy and the protection of the Virgin Mary, thanks to the generous support of the Redemptorists of the Edmonton-Toronto province as well as thanks to good cooperation from some Polish priests and faithful many things are possible.