Chaplain does not follow soldiers to fight armed but to serve: President

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda spoke about the role of a chaplain during the 100th anniversary of the Polish Military Bishopric that was celebrated on Tuesday in the Field Cathedral of the Polish Army in Warsaw.

“A chaplain does not follow soldiers to fight armed, a chaplain goes to battle to be with a soldier serving God, homeland and a fellow human being,” said Poland’s President Andrzej Duda.

“I think no one can imagine the real Polish army without a Polish chaplain, without a priest who provides spiritual support, who is in some way the providence’s representative, someone who may be reached out to, whom we may confess to our hardships and receive support, someone who will always say ‘go and do your duty’,” said Mr Duda.

A plaque commemorating Achilles Ratti – the first Papal nuncio to the Polish state of 1918-1939 and future Pope Pius XI was revealed. He was also the man who announced the establishment of the Polish Military Bishopric by Pope Benedict XV on February 5, 1919.

Stanisław Gall became the Bishopric’s first bishop and head on February 8, 1919, and was promoted to the rank of General Colonel, adopting a motto that read “Stella Maris”, meaning in English “Star of the Sea”.

After Poland’s transition from the communist regime in 1989, the Military Ordinariate of Poland was reactivated by John Paul II on January 21, 1991. The Ordinariate’s task is to provide pastoral services to soldiers and their faimilies and also to people related to the Polish Army.