Mass in memory of President Reagan
PR dla Zagranicy
A mass is to be celebrated tonight in St Mary’s Church in Krakow as part of the European celebrations of the birth centennial of US President Ronald Reagan.
The mass will be attended by a group of US congressmen, the American ambassador in Poland Lee Feinsteil and representatives of the local authorities.
The day’s programme also includes a symposium on the relationship between President Reagan and Pope John Paul II. It is organized by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
Father Jan Machniak of the Papal University in Kraków told the Polish Press Agency that ‘the Blessed John Paul II and Ronald Reagan were, and continue to be, the beacon of hope for a world fighting against evil, irrespective of whether it is individual or structural evil, which takes on various monstrous forms’.
The priest added that the commemorative events in Kraków, while being a get-together for those who remember the years of the Cold War, are also addressed to the young generation which must not forget about the people who shaped history.
Reagan’s two terms of office, from 1981 to 1989, coincided with the crumbling of the Soviet empire, the Solidarity revolution in Poland and the imposition of martial law.
After the declaration of martial law in December 1981, President Reagan supported the Polish cause. In June 1982, he had an audience with Pope John Paul II devoted to Poland and the Soviet domination in Europe. Some historians later described the contacts between the two men as ‘one of the great secret alliances of our time’.
During a visit to the United States in 2007, the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński presented to Nancy Reagan the Order of the White Eagle as a posthumous homage to Ronald Reagan from the Polish nation.
There are plans to erect a statue in President Reagan’s memory in Warsaw.
This week, Reagan Centennial Celebrations will be held in Prague, Budapest and London. (mk)