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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Condolences to Kraków

Polish Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, formerly the Archbishop of Krakow and the immediate successor of Karol Wojtyla in the Chair of Saint Stanislaus, passed away on Tuesday morning. He was 89 years old. Last Thursday, during the Apostolic Voyage to Poland, Pope Francis was able to visit the gravely ill Cardinal in the Kraków Hospital.

With the death of Cardinal Macharski, there are now 112 Cardinal eligible to vote in a conclave, and 99 Cardinals over 80, and thus unable to vote.

Biography of Cardinal Franciszek Macharski
Archbishop emeritus of Kraków (Poland)

Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, Archbishop emeritus of Kraków (Poland), was born on 20 May 1927 in the city of Kraków. During the war, under German occupation, he was a labourer. Following the liberation in 1945, he entered the metropolitan major seminary of Kraków. At the same time he studied theology at the Jagiellonian University. After finishing his studies in theology and philosophy, he was ordained a priest on 2 April 1950 by the then Archbishop of Kraków, Cardinal Sapieha.

For six years, the young priest served as vicar in the parish of Kozy, near Bielsko-Biała. In 1956 he transferred to Fribourg, Switzerland to continue his theological studies at the local Catholic University where in 1960 he received a doctorate in pastoral theology. Returning to Kraków, he was named spiritual director of the metropolitan seminary and dedicated himself to teaching pastoral theology at the Pontifical Faculty of Theology at Kraków. Ten years later, in 1970, he was appointed rector of the same seminary, which is one of the most frequented and important major seminaries in Poland. In 1977 he was appointed canon of the metropolitan chapter of the cathedral of Wawel by the then Archbishop of Kraków, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła. Cardinal Macharski has also been at the Pope’s side during trips abroad to Canada, USA, France, Germany and Italy.

John Paul II appointed him as his successor to the Metropolitan See of Kraków on 29 December 1978. He personally conferred episcopal ordination on 6 January 1979 in Saint Peter’s Basilica in the presence of many Cardinals, Bishops and a multitude of pilgrims, many of whom came from Kraków for the occasion.

Cardinal Macharski is noted as a man of culture, a scholar and a writer. He dedicated particular care to promoting priestly and religious vocations and to the theological-spiritual formation of future priests. Within the Polish episcopate, even prior to his appointment as Archbishop, he contributed his thought and experience by participating in the various commissions. During the plenary assembly of the Polish bishops held in Warsaw 6-8 February 1979, he was made president of the commission of lay ministry; the same commission of which the Holy Father, the then Archbishop of Kraków was president from 1966 to 1978, while Macharski was its secretary.

His Eminence served as President Delegate of the Second Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops (1-23 October 1999) and was Archbishop emeritus of Kraków as of 3 June 2005. He participated in the conclave of April 2005, which elected Pope Benedict XVI.

He was created and proclaimed Cardinal by St. John Paul II in the consistory of 30 June 1979 with the Title of S. Giovanni a Porta Latina (St. John at the Latin Gate).

Telegram of His Holiness, Pope Francis
for the death of Cardinal Macharski

To our venerable brother
Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz
Metropolitan Archbishop of Kraków
Kraków (Poland)

I have learned with sadness, the news of the death of Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, Archbishop emeritus of Kraków.  I am united to You, dear brother, to the presbyterate and the faithful of the Church in Poland in praying with gratitude for the life and the pastoral commitment of this beloved minister of the gospel.

Jesus, I trust in you! - Jesus, I trust in you! - this episcopal motto guided his life and his ministry.  Today, in the Jubilee Year of Mercy, it has become an eloquent invocation that proclaims the fulfillment of the work that the Lord confided to him in the act of Baptism, bringing that work in into the ranks of the consecrated through the seal of his redeeming blood, and later following with the gift of the priesthood, when he sent him with the task of sanctifying the people with the word and with the grace of the sacraments.

He carried out this mission with zeal as a pastor, professor and Seminary rector until the day when the Lord asked him to take charge of the heritage of Saint Stanislaus and of his immediate predecessor Karol Wojtyła, today Saint John Paul II, in the episcopal See of Kraków.  With trust in Divine Mercy, he accomplished this work as father to the priests and the faithful confided to his care.  He guided the Church of Kraków during a difficult period of political and social transformation with wisdom, with healthy detachment from reality, preoccupied with respect for every person, for the good of the community of the Church and above all for keeping the faith alive in the hearts of men.

I am grateful to Providence, that I was able to visit him during my recent visit to Kraków.  In the final stage of his life, he suffered greatly, but accepted it with serenity of spirit.  Even in the midst of that test, he remained a faithful witness, always trusting in the goodness and the mercy of God.  He will remain in my memory and in my prayer.  May the Lord welcome him into glory!

To You, venerable brother, to the Polish Cardinals and Bishops, to the family of the deceased, and to all the Polish faithful, I willingly impart my blessing: in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

From the Vatican
2 August 2016

(Original text in Polish)
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