On the Sunday morning we first went to Łagiewniki in the southern part of Kraków to see the Divine Mercy Cathedral …
… with its airy, modern sanctuary.
In the old red-brick convent on the grounds, St Faustina Kowalska wrote a spiritual diary that has been published in at least a dozen languages. The image she painted of Christ with rays of light has been widely imitated.
The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. … Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter.
St Faustina's painting includes the Polish for "Jesus, I trust in you."
And while I'm sure some people find these things meaningful, if you want to gawk at bad Catholic art, you can hardly do better than the Florentine collection inspired by the devotion to The Divine Mercy.
On a more uplifting note there is The Divine Mercy Chaplet itself, a prayer that has become quite popular in some circles. In it we repeat the cry "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world."
Some members of our group would have preferred to spend the entire day at Divine Mercy, but instead we agreed to return later in the day and rushed off to our appointment for a tour of Wawel Castle.
During the Nazi Occupation, the castle became the local headquarters and residence of the tyrannical governor Hans Frank. You may possibly recognize this courtyard from Schindler's List.
As we waited at the castle exit, a great procession arrived on its way into the cathedral.
One of the things that impressed me most about Poland was how many religious there were, and how young. Vocations are booming. (Now, I've since been told that there's a cynical side to this, in that having a priest in the family is seen as a form of economic security, but still.)
The more senior members of the Church were well represented too.
There's that Divine Mercy picture again.
And you can see four red hats here. I believe it was Cardinal Dziwisz, the longtime private secretary to Pope John Paul II, who greeted a member of our group. Incidentally, if you ever want to find out who's who among the cardinals and bishops of the Catholic Church at any time from the Council of Trent to the present, Catholic-Hierarchy is a terrific resource.
We clearly weren't going to get into the castle cathedral until after whatever event there was finished, so we walked down the ramp and out.
As we walked, it began to rain, soon heavily, and we sheltered in the doorway of a restaurant. I couldn't remember if this was the place that a Polish-born friend of mine in Toronto had recommended, so we went on to eat lunch elsewhere.
And look at this marvellous screen.
During one of the invasions of the city, a trumpeter perched high in this tower sounded the alarm before being shot dead by an archer. Each afternoon, the tradition is re-enacted, and the musical signal ends abruptly to symbolize the original trumpeter's death in the line of duty.
A tiny chapel with this image of Jesus' burial is one of the oldest in the city.
As promised we returned to Divine Mercy. I went to a beautiful little side chapel for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.