08 June 2020

Former youth ministry coordinator in Poland becomes “WYD bishop”

On his episcopal coat of arms, Msgr. Suchodolski includes the cross and icon of Maria, Salus Populi Romani

On 1 June in the Polish diocese of Siedlce, Msgr. Grzegorz Suchodolski was ordained bishop. He has served as the Secretary General of the organizational committee for World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow and was responsible for the participation of Polish youth in these meetings from the years 1996 – 2016. In his coat of arms, the bishop has included two symbols of World Youth Day: the cross and the icon of Maria, Salus Populi Romani. Even his motto, “Announce Jesus Christ” was inspired by the words of St. John Paul II to young people, which is inscribed on the WYD Cross

“I have very often gazed upon these words and have made them an object of my meditation. Many times, I have watched young people kneel before this cross with great emotion, offering their lives to Jesus. Today, I welcome these words as a spiritual testament that was given to me by St. John Paul II and I hope that he will help me to be faithful to this annunciation,” he said.

Msgr. Suchodolski explained that he came to a deeper discovery of the Church and its various dynamics through the symbols of World Youth Day: “I experienced the beauty of the universal Church, which lives in the local Churches. I have come to know the different movements and communities that the Holy Spirit gives to his Church. I have seen the wonderful and dedicated ministry of the Church’s pastors, both priests and bishops. I learned about the structures of dioceses, councils, and Vatican Congregations, as well as about the interrelationship between episcopal conferences and individual dioceses. I made the concerns of young people who sincerely seek Jesus and who overcome various challenges in order to participate in World Youth Day my own.”

The Polish bishop also emphasized the value of these world-wide meetings as a way to discover and fall in love with the Church: “For many young people today the Church is an institution which is far removed from them, that often communications in a language that seems incomprehensible, or ‘archaic.’ Many of them have no spiritual life, do not pray, do not read the Bible, and do not practice. Therefore, one of the challenges of youth ministry, which is realized perfectly during World Youth Day, is that of ‘bringing the Church closer’ to them, in a certain sense ‘warming up’ its image. Young people who have the opportunity to meet their bishop—to ask him questions, to spend time with him in common prayer, recreation, and pilgrimage—begin to see the Church as a reality which close to them. Consequently, many of them seek such closeness and openness also in their dioceses and parishes,” he concludes. 


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