Cardinal Who Served as Blessed John Paul II’s Secretary To Say Mass At Saint Vincent

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, who served as the personal secretary to the late Blessed John Paul II through his 27 years as pope, will offer Mass at Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica at 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 12. The public is invited to attend. Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., members of the Benedictine community and students of Saint Vincent Seminary and College, as well as members of the Basilica Parish, will take part in the Mass. This will be the cardinal’s first visit to Saint Vincent.

Born on April 27, 1939 in the village of Raba Wyzna to Stanislaw Dziwisz, a railroad worker and his wife Zofia Bielarczyk, he has four brothers and two sisters. When he was nine years old, his father died after being struck by a train. On June 23, 1963, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Krakow by its auxiliary bishop, Bishop Karol Wojtyla. In 1966, Bishop Wojtyla was appointed Archbishop of Krakow and in 1978 was elected Pope John Paul II. Father Dziwisz became his personal secretary in 1966 and held that position until Pope John Paul II died in 2005.

In 1998 the Cardinal was consecrated a bishop by His Holiness Pope John Paul II and was named Adjunct Prefect of the Papal Household. On September 29, 2003, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop.

On June 3, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Dziwisz as the Archbishop of Krakow. At the consistory of March 24, 2006, Archbishop Dziwisz was created a Cardinal. In addition to his duties as the Cardinal-Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Dziwisz also serves as a member of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Edcation and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

As the personal secretary of Pope John Paul II for forty years, Cardinal Dziwisz is recognized as one of Pope John Paul II’s most trusted aids and, in his own right, an influential voice in the Vatican. Cardinal Dziwisz offers personal reflections on the life of Pope John Paul II in his book A Life With Karol. The Cardinal speaks about the issues that were of importance to Pope John Paul II and how he focused his energies on addressing the needs of the Church and the issues confronting the world at large. His love for Pope John Paul II is reflected in the emotional accounts of the attempted assassinations of the Holy Father in 1981 and in the Pope’s final days in 2005.

Cardinal Dziwisz has committed himself to the propagation and creative development of Blessed John Paul II’s legacy through the establishment of the Have No Fear! John Paul II Centre in Krakow. The Have No Fear! Center in Krakow is the most important center of the living memory of the work of Blessed John Paul II.