Friday, August 23, 2019

Poland 2: Niepokalanow and Warsaw

by Steve Ray on August 23, 2019

After a good night’s sleep, everyone is feeling pretty good today and well-rested. We start the day by driving to the “City of the Immaculata“ which was founded by Saint Maximilian Kolbe and the name of it in Polish is Niepokolanow.

It was a beautiful drive for about one hour and when we arrived we started with Mass (homily here) before taking a tour of the site and a lot of history about St. Maximilian.

We came back to Old Town Warsaw where everyone had two hours to eat lunch and shop and enjoy the city center.  Everybody had time to find nice cafés for lunch and see the sights of Warsaw. Then we toured the city and churches. Also, the Warsaw Ghetto where Jews were mercilessly contained under the Nazis and a lot of history related to World War II and the Soviets.

Then back to the hotel. From there we walked through the Royal Gardens and ate at the exquisite Belvedere Restaurant.


Did the Bible Always have Chapters & Verses?

by Steve Ray on August 23, 2019

IMG_8656No! The chapter and verse divisions in the Bible are relatively recent additions to the Bible. Originally it was written in Hebrew and Greek and there were NO chapter and verse divisions–in fact, most of the time there was not even spaces between the words!

Interestingly, in the book of Hebrews the writer is quoting the Old Testament and because it did not have chapters and verses and he was working out of a cumbersome rolled scroll, the writer said “Somewhere it says . . .”  (Heb 2:6, 4:4).

Here is a paragraph from my book St. John’s Gospel:

“The different divisions of the material within the NT books are not ancient. The chapter divisions are usually attributed to Cardinal Hugo de San Caro, who in A.D. 1248 used them in preparing a Bible index, but he may have borrowed them from the earlier [Catholic] archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton.

The modern verses derive from Robert Estienne (Stephanus), who, according to his son Henry, made the divisions while on a journey on horseback from Paris to Lyons. They were first published in Stephanus’ Greek Testament of 1551 and first appeared in an English translation of the NT in William Whittingham’s version of 1557. The first complete Bible in English with our verses was the Geneva Bible of 1560” (Achtemeier, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, 699).

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Niepokalanow, Poland: Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s “City of the Immaculata”

Today we are in Niepokalanow where St. Maximilian Kolbe set up the “City of the Immaculata” and helped save Poland’s faith as it was about to descend into the tyranny of the Nazis and the Soviets. Today their Catholic Faith is exemplary. So, I thought I would share the story with you while we are there!

Click here for the whole story with lots of pictures….

 The History of Niepokalanow:
Here, not far from Warsaw, is the Franciscan Friary founded by Saint Maximilian Kolbe. It was begun at a time when anti-Catholic rhetoric was at its height, leading up to the Communist revolution in Russia in 1917. Saint Maximilian decided to fight back, and on October 16, 1917 he and six others formed a group calling themselves the Knights of the Immaculata. His goal was to form a place in honor of the Immaculate Virgin. Obtaining land from Prince Jan Drucki-Lubecki, he was able to construct the monastery and it was consecrated on December 7, 1927.

Although Saint Maximilian was absent through much of this time, traveling to missions in Japan, he was able to help oversee its development. It grew rapidly up to the outbreak of World War II in 1939, having a large printing operation (publishing a daily Catholic newspaper), a radio station, as well as a seminary.

Saint Maximilian returned from time to time, and finally in 1936 he came back to serve as the spiritual father of Niepokalanow. As mentioned earlier, the German invasion of 1939 brought an end to all this: the priory was sacked and Father Kolbe, along with 40 priests, was arrested and held in detention. They were released a few months later, but the Gestapo kept close watch on Father Kobe and  his printing operation. On February 7, 1941, Father Kolbe was again arrested and charged with aiding the Jews as well as the Polish underground. He was held in Warsaw for three months before being transferred to Auschwitz, where he gave up his life for a fellow prisoner…

Click here for the whole story with lots of pictures….