28th National Sobriety Meetings "Animated by Word" in Licheń

Another 28th Polish National Sobriety Meetings "Animated by Word" took place in the Licheń sanctuary. During meetings and night meetings, people struggling with various addictions had a chance to experience the strength of being in the community and listen to the testimonies of those who are standing on their own feet today.

Thank you, Mother, for helping me to sober up and live. Before that, it was a torment, a torture. I couldn't believe I could not drink

From the left: Fr. Zbigniew Borkowski, MIC, Fr. Marek Dziewiecki, Rafał Porzeziński

28. Sobriety Meetings in Licheń began on July 23 this year. conference at 15.00 with the participation of Fr. Marek Dziewiecki and the community of "Survivors". The meeting in the conference room of the "Bethlehem" Pilgrim House under the title "How to love an addicted person?" Was chaired by Rafał Porzeziński. The conference was also attended by the Director of the Licheń Center for Help for the Family and Addicts, Fr. Zbigniew Borkowski, MIC.

Thank God I can be sober ...

The second day of the Meetings began with the Way of the Cross at 9.30. During the service, people from sobriety backgrounds shared their testimonies and reflections: “Thank you, Mother, for helping me to sober up and live. Before that, it was a torment, a torture. I couldn't believe I could not drink. " “I came to thank you for something I couldn't do for 40 years. Thank God I can be sober. It's worth being sober. It's a completely different life, maybe not always a bed of roses, but it's good. I'd like to die sober. The service was presided over by Fr. Stanisław Kowalski.

Welcome home ...

“When I see you, my heart rejoices that there is hope, that there is life, that there is strength, power! One is support for the other. Welcome home!" - said Fr. Zbigniew Borkowski, MIC, Director of the Licheń Center for Assistance to the Family and Addicted People, officially opening this year's Sobriety Meetings in Licheń.
“This meeting is a special sign of a fulfilled longing for freedom. Your presence is a sign for all of Poland. It takes a strong sign to instill hope that freedom, a better different life, and being a happy person are possible. " - said Fr. Janusz Kumala, MIC, Custodian of the Lichen sanctuary.
The tradition of the Licheń National Sobriety Meetings is to award the "Pelican" award for contributing to the sobering of others. According to medieval beliefs, a female pelican was supposed to tear her own breast with her beak and feed her chicks with her blood in times of hunger, hence pelicans were considered a symbol of sacrifice and giving life to others. 
This year's winner of the "Pelican" award was Fr. Marek Dziewiecki - priest of the diocese of Radom. The statuette was presented by Fr. Janusz Kumala, MIC, Custodian of the Sanctuary in Licheń.
Father Marek Dziewiecki is a doctor of psychology, awarded with the Medal of the National Education Commission. He is also the author of over a dozen books in the field of educational psychology, preparation for family life, prevention and treatment of addictions as well as recordings, broadcasts, articles conveying the truth about a loving God.
“He wrote his interpretation of this 12 Step path that we all love. So deep that even those who know it very well are delighted with how many more threads they found in his story entitled The way of the winners”- said Rafał Porzeziński, emphasizing Father Dziewiecki's contribution to the creation of the community TVP survivors and St. James's 12 Steps for Christians
The awarded priest is also the founder and director of the helpline "Line of Brotherly Hearts" in Radom, which has been helping thousands of people every year for over 20 years.
The winner of the "Pelican" award in 2021, Fr. Marek Dziewiecki

For those who left for the eternal meeting ...

Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m. During the mass celebrated in the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Licheń, prayers were prayed for the intention of the deceased from sobriety milieus who "departed for the eternal meeting". The liturgy was presided over by Fr. Zbigniew Borkowski, MIC, director of the Licheń Help Center. "They look from the perspective of eternity, and we have come to draw new strength" - said the Marian in the homily. “Let us not waste our lives, let us allow ourselves to be animated by the Word of God! Everything is in our hands as long as we live, we can be wheat, not weed. We are priceless in the eyes of God, everyone is loved by Him! "
Fr. Zbigniew Borkowski, MIC, Director of the Family Support Center and Addicted People in Lichen Stary

There is always hope for a change ...

Fr. Bishop Tadeusz Bronakowski, chairman of the Team for the Apostolate of Sobriety and Addicts
Evening Eucharist at 19.00 was presided over by Fr. Bishop Tadeusz Bronakowski, chairman of the Team for the Apostolate of Sobriety and Addicts.
The gathered pilgrims were greeted by Fr. Janusz Kumala, MIC, saying that “Poland needs Lichen, at least for one day a year. This conviction is reflected in today's presence of so many addicts, their families and friends at the Marian Sanctuary in Licheń Stary, for which the faithful long for and to which they return ".
In his homily, Bishop Tadeusz Bronakowski encouraged to remain with God. According to the bishop, this year's slogan of the Licheń Sobriety Encounters "enlivened by the word" fits perfectly into this decision - “Obedience to God's Word brings life. Rejecting His Word is the way to death " - said the hierarch.
Speaking about the 12-step program, he emphasized that it was rooted in the Gospel, and the number alone symbolizes perfection and shows the purpose of human existence.
Bishop Bronakowski also expressed great joy at the fact that the Marian priests serving in the Licheń sanctuary undertook the effort of organizing such a large project as the National Sobriety Meetings.
The chairman of the Team for the Apostolate of Sobriety and Addicts also recalled the figure of Card. Stefan Wyszyński, whose delayed beatification will be celebrated this year, saying that he was a great advocate of sobriety.
During the evening Mass. 28 couples celebrated their marriage anniversaries and renewed their marriage vows.
Before the end of the Eucharist, the slogan of the next year's National Sobriety Meetings was given - "WANTED AND LOVED". After the Mass Individual meetings resumed at various points in the Lichen sanctuary, which lasted late into the night. Throughout the meetings, addicts could purchase professional literature at stands located in the square behind the basilica, at the entrance to the museum. Fr. Józef Jarzębowski.
The 28th Polish National Sobriety Meetings ended with the Sunday morning Mass. at. 7.30, followed by a meeting with Fr. Marek Dziewiecki - a lecture entitled "There is no end to it, which means that there is always hope for change."

Text and photos: Sanctuary Press Office

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