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This year’s World Youth Day in Krakow will
help strengthen relations between Poland
and Australia, the Polish Ambassador
to Australia, Paweł Milewski, told young
people at the Australian Catholic Youth
Festival in December.
Officially inviting young Australians to
make the pilgrimage to Poland in July, Mr
Milewski said it would be an extremely
important spiritual experience and would
significantly deepen their faith.
“I am very happy that your visit to Poland
will be an important part of the overall
relations between Poland and Australia
and an opportunity to promote people-
to-people exchange,” he told the festival
He referred to the special links between
his country and South Australia, where the
first group of Polish settlers to the country
came in the middle of the 19th century.
“Polish Hill River in Clare Valley, which
is now recognised as a super-premium
wine-growing district, was at that time
the site of the largest Polish settlement in
Australia,” he said.
“From the early 1850s onwards, numbers
of Poles migrated to the area. Here they
set up a community of more than 300
people at its largest, with its own priest
Father Leon Rogalski, a beautiful church
and school, the playground language of
which was Polish.
“A small museum still exists there as
a testament to the early settlers of the
region and their great contribution to the
development of this wonderful part of
Mr Milewski said World Youth Day Krakow
would be a good opportunity to learn more
about Poland, its people, history, culture
He said the past 25 years of regained
independence after the fall of Communism
had been the most successful in the past
400 years of Poland’s history.
“Poland produced a lot of history in
particular in the 20th century and the
Polish nation suffered enormously
from the two worst regimes in human
history: Nazism and Communism (were)
responsible for millions of deaths around
the world,” he said.
“We are all proud of all the Polish heroes
who made it possible for the younger
generations of Poles to live in a free and
stable Poland... One of them was St Pope
John Paul II. Being all his life the moral
authority, his impact on changes both in
Poland and Europe was enormous.
“To understand Karol Wojtyla (John Paul
II's birth name) and his contribution to the
collapse of Communism is to remember
that this man lived under oppression and
tyranny for much of his life.”
The Youth Festival in Adelaide was the
venue for the inaugural exhibition titled
“Pope John Paul II. Poland’s gift to the
world”, prepared and sent to Australia
by the John Paul II Catholic University of
For information about the Adelaide and
Port Pirie pilgrimage to World Youth
Day Krakow, contact Sarah Moffatt on
8301 6866 or email sarah.moffatt@cesa.
A priest blessing a
child during Mass on
Flores Island, Indonesia
Hundreds of rosary beads given to
presenters at the Australian Catholic
Youth Conference were handmade
by Adelaide Polish migrants Stan
and Krystyna Kolodziej.
Stan and Krystyna are long-time
members of the Adelaide Polish
Catholic community and have been
making rosary beads for Archbishop
Philip Wilson to distribute across the
diocese since 2008.
They calculate having hand-made
more than 2000 sets of rosary beads
and were ecstatic their handiwork
travelled the globe with international
and local speakers and workshop
presenters returning home to the
United States and across Australia
from the festival in December.
With 59 beads to each rosary, the
Adelaide Hills couple has strung
more than 118,000 individual beads
over the past seven years.
“We have never charged a dollar,”
says Krystyna. “We are happy to do
this work,” she says.
They began making rosary beads
together in 2008 when Krystyna
was trying to recycle old jewellery.
Stan lent a hand with the wiring and
together they began a new hobby
which has given them hours and
hours of joy.
“We just like to pray for people
and make a better world,” says
“Nobody told us to do it, but we
love it and we can’t stop because
every rosary brings one person
closer to prayer,” she says.
In 2008, Stan and Krystyna received
the Archbishop’s Award for their
contribution to the Polish Catholic
community since arriving in South
Australia from Poland in November
In 2010, the couple raised $10,000
for international Catholic aid
agency Caritas to assist the more
than 20,000 people evacuated by
flooding in Poland. Last year Pope
Francis acknowledged their 50th
wedding anniversary with a papal
Ambassador spruiks WYD Krakow
WELCOME: L-R Polish ambassador to Australia Pawel Milewski discusses WYD
Krakow with Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher, Gabrielle Sinclair from the national
Office for Youth, Fr Philip Marshall VG and Fr Sylwester Karasiuk SCHR.
PRAYERFUL PAST-TIME: Krystyna and Stan Kolodziej making rosary
beads in their Adelaide Hills home.
Gift to youth festival
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