May 31, 2018


MAY 31


Pope John Paul II seventh pilgrimage to Poland. It included celebrations of the 1000th anniversary of St Adalbert's (Wojciech's) martyrdom.  In his homily the pontiff emphasized the tenet, "Christ yesterday, today, and forever." Beatification:  Bernardina Jabłońska and Maria Karłowska and canonization of Bl. Queen Jadwiga of Anjou. The places he visited: Wrocław, Legnica, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Gniezno, Poznań, Gniezno, Kalisz, Częstochowa, Zakopane, Ludzmierz, Kraków, Dukla. (Saint Adalbert was the Bishop of Prague and a missionary to the Hungarians, Poles, and Prussians. He was martyred in his efforts to convert the Baltic Prussians to Christianity. He died on April 23, 997.  Polish King Boleslaus I brought his remains back to Gniezno for the payment of his remains in gold.  The massive metal doors of Gniezo Cathedral depict the life, and death of Saint Adalbert in relief and is a valuable historical testimony. A silver coffin containing his remains rest in Gniezno Cathedral.)


The Polish 1st Independent Airborne Brigade was awarded the Dutch Military William Order by HM Queen Beatrix for gallantry at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden in 1944. It was the highest Dutch military honor for heroism during World War II.  The Polish Brigade played a pivotal role in the Allied airborne invasion of the Netherlands in September 1944, but whose contributions were largely ignored by the Allies.  Though the Battle of Arnhem, ie Operation Market Garden failed (due to errors committed by British Command), the Polish soldiers distinguished themselves with bravery and immeasurable sacrifices.  British commander Montgomery immediately blamed the failure of the Operation on its leader Major-General Stanislaw F. Sosabowski who was subsequently dismissed.  Queen Beatrix and the nation recognized the great contribution made by the Poles in liberating the Netherlands in April and May 1945 at great sacrifice to themselves.  (Despite British diplomatic resistance, the brigade's commander, Sosabowski was posthumously awarded the "Bronze Lion".)

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