Ministry of the Society of Christ Fathers to Polish Migrants
1. Short historical account of the Order.
The 20th century coming to its end, has been a witness of the events which have diametrically changed and are still changing the face of the world. One of these events, that continues to take place, is the migration of people. It arises as a characteristic of this age. Many reasons have affected it. Two world wars, the presence of totalitarian rules, political, social and economic crisis have played a great role in the enormous migration of people. Migration has taken place within the borders of Europe, but likewise, people emigrated from the old continent to both North and South America, Australia and in part to Africa. In the movement of large masses of people of Europe, Poles, have also had their part. The deciding factor was and remains to be the geopolitical placing of Poland. Many sons and daughters of the nation, were physically forced to emigrate. They were taken by force to Siberia. The reason for it, was the totalitarian communist system, and the Yaltan division of Europe after the second world war.
During the thirties, on to the arena of the life of the Church in Poland came Cardinal August Hlond.
A descendent of the region of Silesia. He himself experienced the life of an emigrant while studying in Rome, and when he was the inspector of the Salesian Province in Vienna, Austria. He came to know the conditions of the emigrant way of life. When Cardinal Hlond was appointed Archbishop of the Gniezno-Poznan Archdiocese, and received the title of the Primate of Poland, from that moment on, among many other assignments, he showed special care for Polish emigrants. He visited Polish groups in Europe, South America. Standing before the critical situation in which Polish pastoral care for emigrants found itself, he took many different kinds of initiatives to ensure the presence of Polish speaking priests among migrant communities. Finally, in 1932 after receiving approbation of Pope Pius XI, he established the Religious Order of the Society of Christ to Polish Migrants. He entrusted the responsibility of organizing the new Order to Fr. Ignacy Posadzy, a priest of the Archdiocese of Gniezno-Poznan. The beginnings were very difficult. Development of the Order was interrupted by the second world war. After its end, Father Posadzy began once again to reorganize what had been started. Until 1956 it was not possible for the priests of our Order to leave the country and to go to our mission field. Beyond the borders of Poland remained those priests, who were put there, by the conditions caused by the war.
Due to the new political situation in Poland, 1956 became a turning point with regard to the realization of the Order's mission. The first priests began to travel to the territories of their mission work: Brazil, Australia, Germany, France, Canada, the United States. These were the first countries the members of the Society, had been sent to. From that moment up to the present time, we have acclaimed a larger portion of the pastoral care of the migrant communities.
2. The structure of the presence in the Church.
French Province: composed of France and Spain;
Great Britain Province: composed of Iceland, England and South Africa.
German Province: composed of Germany, Holland and Italy;
South American Province: composed of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay;
North American Province: composed of Canada and United States.
Society of Christ