2017-09-15 Charity Fair Veitatis Splendor
The Veritatis Splendor International Conference, held on 15 September 2017 in the Hall at Collegium Novum of Jagiellonian University under the slogan “the Art of Dialogue Building in the Divided World”, drew representatives from various circles, professions and faiths. Nonetheless, what they all have in common is their awareness that only an open dialogue may solve the numerous problems that today’s world faces: terrorism, wars, violence and poverty.
The speakers included: Veritatis Splendor Award recipient Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe from Uganda, Director Krzysztof Zanussi, Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz, Ms Hanna Suchocka, former Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the Vatican, Bishop of Nazareth Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarch of Syria Gregory III Laham and Italian Senator Rocco Buttiglione. The discussion was opened by Leszek Zegzda, representing the Małopolska Region administration.
Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz recollected the figure of the great patron of both the Charity Fair and the Veritatis Splendor Award in the context for a dialogue.
John Paul II made his personal contribution to the Church’s dialogue. He would always contrast it with fighting, since in fighting the other person is destroyed, whereas in dialogue, he is affirmed and you offer yourself to him. Within such dimension the dialogue may also denote responsibility for the fate of the world, stressed Card. Dziwisz, long-term personal secretary to Karol Wojtyła.
One of the speakers, Patriarch Gregory III Laham, head of the Melkite Greek-Catholic church in Syria, not only reminded us about the current situation in his homeland, but also primarily emphasised that Islamic terrorism – which he compared to a tsunami – presently constituted the biggest threat to Europe.
We must work hard for peace not only in Syria, though it’s closest to my heart, but also throughout the whole of Europe. Anyone of us may be such a person that will bring peace to others. Not only to the inhabitants of Iraq or Syria, where war is being waged, but predominantly to all those who live next to each of us.
Together with the others, Patriarch Gregory lit a special candle for the peace in Syria.
Ms Hanna Suchocka, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland and the Polish Ambassador to the Vatican in 2001-2013, presented her testimony about the role of dialogue during the pontificate of John Paul II. In starting she quoted the words of the Polish Pope who, in one of his speeches, said that dialogue was a duty and a task for us all.
Ms Suchocka stressed that human dignity was the biggest value for John Paul II. From the point of view of dignity, every human has certain, unalienable rights. That was the principle on which the Vatican’s policy was based upon during the pontificate of our pope. That involved opening up to diversity and dialogue, as a responsibility to all and conducted with everyone. John Paul II perfectly understood that dialogue is the means to mutual understanding and may resolve many difficulties. She also added that, owing to the political engagement of John Paul II, it had been possible to prevent an outbreak of war between Argentine and Chile towards the end of the 70’s. However, in the spring of 2003, or just on the eve of the outbreak of war in Iraq, John Paul II was strongly committed to avoiding commencement of war operations. He met with key politicians since he wanted to prevent the situation that we are currently faced with, she added.
Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, first recipient of the Veritatis Splendor Award, works on a daily basis in Uganda with girls that have had particularly harsh experiences in life. During her testimony, she talked about efforts to restore the dignity of those under her care and make their life valuable again, while teaching them faith in themselves and in other people. Sister Rosemary again remarked about the Veritatis Splendor Award.
It was like a miracle for me. I had never been to Poland before, and then I received such an unexpected message. Over the year since I received the award, I’ve managed to do a lot of good things. That money changes the lives of many young girls. This award is an example of dialogue, too. Because charity is its best example. This doesn’t only mean giving; primarily, it means seeing another man and his problems.
In conclusion, Sr. Rosemary remarked that humility is the biggest difficulty in dialogue. Because dialogue is about abandoning the conviction that our opinion is better than that of the others.
The Veritatis Splendor Charity Fair is not only about the stands, but it is also the perfect opportunity to hold talks and exchange experiences. Like the day before, the second day also offered debates and conferences.
High emotions were stirred up during an Oxford-style Debate on “Voluntarism – an act of philanthropy or care for the common good?” that was attended by students from upper secondary schools. The debate was to set a path for discussions on the issue with opponents and supporters arguing their views. The debate was chaired by a moderator aided by a secretary who kept time and the order of speeches. The meeting was conducted and evaluated by members of the Kraków Speakers Association.
In the late afternoon, the square in front of the Papal Window at 3 Franciszkańska Street filled with joyful sounds and an entire range of colours. It was the Radwanek Theatre, staging a play called “Frankie of the Sun Valley” directed by Anna Dymna. The audience was enchanted by the story of a disabled boy who initially was not accepted and misunderstood by his surrounding world. Through his goodness and courage he found friends and his place on Earth.
The Radwanek Theatre is based in Radwanowice, near Kraków. It is a group of mentally handicapped adults who are under the care of Anna Dymna’s Against the Odds Foundation and the Brother Albert Foundation. They are residents in the Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Centre Dolina Słońca.
On Friday evening, the stage under the Papal Window at 3 Franciszkańska Street was taken by Trebunie-Tutki, a highlander band. The band is an ambassador for the Podhale Region and Polish culture at festivals across Europe, Asia and North America. Recognised all over Europe, the band’s style has been shaped by family music traditions and love of highlander folklore on the one hand, and an innovative and avant-garde approach to their heritage on the other.
The second day of the Veritatis Splendor Charity Fair ended with an ecumenical service held at the Franciscan Basilica.
Source: www.malopolska.pl, IDMJPII