We are pleased to announce that we've confirmed the credibility of Marek and Sofia Skwarnicki, finding in fact that they are a highly respected and indeed well-known Polish couple who received letters from Pope John Paul II documenting the legendary Pope's positive view of the apparitions at Medjugorje.
The confirmation is crucial because the letters appear to be the first known case where the Pope's feelings about the famed site have been recorded in writing.
For many years, bishops, priests, and laymen visiting the Pope reported his positive view, but that view lacked documentation until personal correspondence between the late Pope and Skwarnickis -- who live in Krakow -- came to the surface in recent days. Marek and Sofia made four of the letters available to followers of Medjugorje but did not want the actual copies widely disseminated until formal Church review.
Those letters indicate not just an interest in Medjugorje -- where the Blessed Mother has appeared since 1981 -- but an actual devotion
On May 28, 1992, for example, the late Pope wrote, "I thank Zofia for everything that regards Medjugorje. I am also going there every day in prayer: I join everyone who is praying there or who derives the call to prayer from there. Today we have understood this call better."
The actual letters may be included in an upcoming book by Marek, a well-known Polish journalist who first met John Paul II when the future pontiff was a priest in 1958 and served as John Paul II's poetry editor, collaborating with him on the final issue of the meditations, Roman Triptych. Skwarnicki's career largely was spent working on the editorial board as an editor and reporter for the weekly Tygodnik Powszechny and a monthly called Znak, published in Krakow.
The nationwide weekly and monthly were founded by Krakow Cardinal Sapieha, who was predecessor of the future Pope, Karol Wojtyla. The Pope published all of his poems and some articles in the publications. Marek is also a member of the Pontifical Council of Laity and was present on twenty of the Pope's trips, covering them as a journalist and esteemed author.
Born in 1930, Skwarnicki took part as a boy in the Warsaw Uprising and was arrested by Gestapo, who sent him to a concentration camp called Mauthausen. His wife Sofia was one of the first pilgrim leaders to Medjugorje, largely responsible for sparking interest in Medjugorje in Eastern Europe.
"My wife received information about the apparition in October of 1983," Skwarnicki told Spirit Daily, adding that Sofia succeeded in getting two books about Medjugorje published at the same time that she developed an involvement with the trade union, Solidarity -- which was crucial in the downfall of Communism. "News from Medjugorje gave the suppressed Catholic society hope," recalls Marek, whose wife started the first bulletin on the apparitions in Poland -- no doubt contributing to the Pope's interest in the site of apparitions, which he prevented from being rejected by a hostile local bishop later in the 1980s.
The Pope mentioned Medjugorje in another letter on February 25, 1994, making reference to the war in former Yugoslavia. "Zofia writes about the Balkans," said the Pope. "Now we can better understand Medjugorje. We can better understand this mother's 'insistence' today, when we have the magnitude of such danger before our eyes. Equal is the answer of special prayer, prayer for the people of the whole world. It gives us a hope that here goodness will win, that peace is possible. That was the main idea of the prayer day, January 23."
Courtesy of "Spirit Daily"
Courtesy of "Spirit Daily"
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