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Jokingly, we can say that John Paul II owes his career to Nowa Huta. The troubles connected with the construction of the new church in Nowa Huta, created by the communists, had compelled Bishop Eugeniusz Baziak to take action. He appointed Karol Wojtyła, despite his young age, as his deputy.

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Jokingly, we can say that John Paul II owes his career to Nowa Huta. The troubles connected with the construction of the new church in Nowa Huta, created by the communists, had compelled Bishop Eugeniusz Baziak to take action. He appointed Karol Wojtyła, despite his young age, as his deputy.
For the authorities of that time, the issue of preventing the construction of a temple in “the city of socialist labour” was a matter of prestige. For many years, masses in Nowa Huta were held in garden arbors, converted into chapels, or even under the open sky. Up to several thousand people even participated in such masses. It gave the future pope an opportunity to practice something that would later become a signature of his pontificate—enormous masses for millions of believers under the open sky.
The picture presented here, taken by Stanisław Gawliński, presents the dedication of the church of St. Maksymilian Kolbe in Mistrzejowice. This took place during the Second Pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II to Poland in 1983. It took place under a state of martial law. Thus, this holy mass, apart from the religious dimension, also became an opportunity for the underground Solidarność to demonstrate their opposition towards the violation of human rights and workers' rights.
The mass was attended by as many as three Kraków bishops. The first was the Bishop at the time, Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, the other, his predecessor — Karol Wojtyła (John Paul II) — and finally, the personal secretary of the Pope, the current Bishop, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz.

Elaborated by Maciej Miezian (Historical Museum of the City of Kraków), © all rights reserved

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Photograph “John Paul II in Mistrzejowice” by Stanisław Gawliński

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