Sunday afternoon, we ended the 14th edition of the Mysterium fascinans liturgical retreat under the title “Liturgical one tough cookie”. Over a hundred participants in the building of the Krakow seminary and as many online since Friday, September 10, explored liturgical topics together with the retreatist, bishop Artur Ważny.

The annual liturgical retreat is an opportunity to look at the liturgy as if through a magnifying glass and to look in detail at various aspects of the liturgical life in the Church.

– This year we did not choose one specific detail – explains the president of our Foundation, Fr. Łukasz Miśko. – We have adopted a kind of difficulty as the subject, this hardness to crack – as the title itself suggests: a liturgical one tough cookie (“nut to crack” in polish); so we look at a few elements that turned out to be quite demanding, turned out to be a challenge for the Church in recent months or years – adds Fr. Miśko.

The participants of the retreat from Friday to Sunday afternoon participated in seminars, discussion panels, liturgical celebrations, as well as in a series of lectures.

– On the first day of the retreat, we were able to listen to a lecture by Jerzy Myca, Ph.D., a liturgy enthusiast, although a mathematician by education, who organizes the issues of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite – says Fr. Krzysztof Porosło, the initiator of the retreat.

On Saturday, participants listened to four lectures. The series was started by Fr. Grzegorz Strzelczyk, Ph.D., pastor from Tychy (Silesia region), and above all a dogmatist, who spoke about the relationship between the prayer for healing and the anointing of the sick sacrament. The second topic, taken up by Fr. Krzysztof Wiśniewski, Ph.D. from Legnica (Lower Silesia region), concerned the issue of Eucharistic miracles: how to understand them, what is the relationship between the Eucharistic miracle and the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Then, Fr. Krzysztof Porosło, Ph.D., delivered a lecture organizing the issue of Holy Communion by putting it in mouth and placed in the hand. Finally Timothy O’Malley, Ph.D. – a lay theologian at the University of Notre Dame, IN, US – spoke about the universal priesthood of the baptized.

Also on Saturday afternoon took place the premiere of the book series, arising from the experience of the retreat, under the title, “Mysterium fascinans”. The first two books have already been published by the WAM Publishing House and the Dominican Liturgical Center, and have been presented to the public.

During the meeting devoted to book novelties, fathers Dominik Jurczak and Dominik Jarczewski also talked about their book “Nerw Święty”, which has been published in recent months by the “W drodze” Dominican Publishing House.

– Sunday was for us a “spiritual” day – notes Fr. Krzysztof – because in addition to the Eucharist, there was a mystagogical catechesis of the bishop, as well as a discussion panel with Monika Przybysz, DSc, Monika Białkowska, Ph.D. and Marcin Kędzierski, Ph.D. During the meeting, we talked about what perspectives in the life of the Church, also in terms of liturgy, were revealed by the pandemic, whether we notice any advantages of this time, but also what is a challenge for the Church community and what we are unable to cope with.

This year the retreat was delivered by Artur Ważny, auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tarnów.

– It is so new to me, I was usually in specific environments, in groups where I recognized faces. I know practically few people here, so it is such a new experience for me to meet people and I am very happy that I can establish new relationships, expand the world of various acquaintances who live a bit different spirituality, which also enriches me and who also does not it is alien to me, because the liturgy is my everyday life.

Fr. Artur Ważny, before he was ordained a bishop, was the director of the Department for New Evangelization in the diocese of Tarnów, and he also ran the School of the New Evangelization of St. Joseph. During the retreat, he bring up, among others, this subject.

– The New Evangelization is about leading to the experience of God in the liturgy and meeting Him, and the evangelizers, through the experience of His presence in life, would later have the enthusiasm to go out and evangelize. This shows very strongly what the Council says about the liturgy, that it is both the summit and the source – we are to lead ourselves and others there, but also draw strength from there to go and then look at others from this summit and bring them back.

The retreat was attended by a total of nearly two hundred participants, who could participate in them remotely or stationary. Due to the restrictions, we could invite one hundred people this year to participate in the stationary version in the Krakow seminar.

We organized the retreat again with the Pontifical University of John Paul II. As every year, the event was supported by a dozen dedicated volunteers.

– I have already participated in five editions of the Mysterium fascinans retreat and it has always been my dream to be a volunteer here – says Gabriela Kasprzyk, wearing a badge with the description “Participant’s Assistant”. It is amazing to see an event like this from the other side – how it all works. I am glad that I can join the organization because this retreat has such a valuable mission.

Every year, the Mysterium fascinans retreat gathers around 200 people who want to deepen their understanding and experience of the liturgy. During each of the editions so far, the retreats were hosted by eminent theologians and liturgists – including Fr. Prof. Cassian Folsom OSB, Fr. Prof. Cesare Giraudo, Fr. Jose Antonio Goñi, Ph.D., Fr. Prof. Felix Maria Arocena Solano and Fr. Prof. Pierangelo Muroni. Invitations were also accepted by Fr. Prof. Czesław Krakowiak, Fr. Prof. Bogusław Migut, Fr. Maciej Zachara, MIC, Ph.D., Father Mateusz Przanowski, O.P., Ph.D, Tomasz Dekert, Ph.D., Fr. Prof. Piotr Roszak, Fr. Wojciech Węgrzyniak, DSc, and many other great speakers.