BLESSED KAROL WOJTYLA FRIENDSHIP CENTRE – MISSION STATEMENT
The Blessed Karol Wojtyla Friendship Centre is a charity organization based on Christian values as stated in the Gospels and the teachings of Saint Pope John Paul II.
Our motto: ’OUR ALTAR IS THE NEEDIEST’S DINING TABLE!’
Our main mission is to build a community where the weakest, those having a broken heart, orphans and people suffering from illnesses can get help. To have a commitment to the poor, providing them with earthy and holy possessions. We, as a matter of fact, save lives and souls by our humanitarian support, giving them the best of our knowledge, regardless of race, gender, religion or political views. We believe, together with our Supporters, we are able to best use all the donations, allocate relief and give medical help with good Grace.
Our principle is to perform effectively our charity tasks, at the lowest operating expense, by thoroughly planning the cost minimization procedure to optimize the operating processes at our establishments.
We believe that our professional skills, quality improvements efforts and optimal use of resources, help us do our life and soul saving tasks in the most efficient way.
We trust that by creating power within the voluntary support, we provide an opportunity for all volunteers who accept our principles to show and improve their ability in the field of social care work.
Pope Benedict XVI said:
“I confirm what my great Predecessor was writing in one of his encyclicals when expressing the Catholic Church’s willingness to cooperate with charity organizations of other churches and communities. All of us work on the basis of the same motivation and pursue the same objectives: a kind of real humanism that recognizes God’s portrait in people’s face and wants to help them live their lives according to God’s dignity.”
Thanks to God, to our holy father Karol Wojtyla living in Heaven in company with God, our patrons and supporters, following our foundation in 2005, the social establishment, community centre, meeting point and friendship house in one, named after Karol Wojtyla, could be initiated in all its glory on 24th May 2009. At the opening ceremony, among others, Ewa Filipiak, mayoress of Wadowice, Dr. Balázs Bábel, archbishop of Kalocsa-Kecskemét and Dr. Gábor Zombor, mayor of Kecskemét were cutting the ribbon outside the building entry.
Ewa Filipiak, mayoress of Wadowice became a true friend with our town leaders by means of our dedication to help those less fortunate.
She is a constant supporter of the two people in Poland and Hungary although she no longer works at the townhall, however, the new mayor continues his predecessors’ activity in this regard.
Since our opening we have consistently extended our range of services. We are able to receive into a real home those one hundred and fifty people who are in need of food, clothing; all the basic elements of normal life. The project that was detailed in the Deed of Foundation is now be fully implemented.
The Blessed Karol Wojtyla Friendship Centre was established by the miraculous help of the son of Wadowice, who lives in Heaven. The social care institute intends to express by its efforts the mystery of people who live in our soul but also require (need) material resources and food, as well as the Holy Father and Jesus Christ who was feeding hungry crowds with bread and fish. The sculpture of Saint John Paul II that was erected outside the house, however, is also a kind of testimony.
The operation is a provider of social services, a rehabilitation centre, a tabernacle, a showroom and a community centre all in one. The founders and supporters working with their enthusiasm, have aimed to create a memory that lives up to Pope Saint John Paul II’s world improving ministry blessed by God, as well as the theology of “Non abbiate, paura! – Don’t worry!”.
The initiating idea itself and then the organizational process, the pace and process of building kindled the interest and support of the whole country, citizens of Kecskemét, as well as all those believers living outside the country who appreciate Karol Wojtyla. The building sessions were followed by pilgrims, meanwhile donors, helpers, well-wishers, supporters multiplied around the house. Furthermore we did not need to stop the tight-budget building process for want of financial resources. Since then, in a miraculous way, all the necessary building materials have been available in due course. Moreover a prayer communion and a social experts workgroup were created as well.
The soup-kitchen currently provides 120 needy people with lunch, as well as breakfast if necessary. We have been extended the range of our public cultural, leisure and informative activities, such as medical, lifestyle, law tutorials, spiritual courses, excursions, displays, exhibitions, rehabilitation advisory. Our animators and personal consultants keep in touch with the needy clients in order to give them advice and help in terms of issues of everyday life, as well as to offer them pastoral care, consolation, a specific assistance.
Persons in need, who require regularly to be provided with food, should first contact the municipal Family Help Centre or the local Catholic Caritas Groups. Our building consists of three small-sized meeting rooms, a saloon, a spacious dining room where our specialists can deal with the persons’ needs. One of our main priorities is to purchase a neighbouring property so that we can have more space for our benevolent charity work.
In the end let me quote Pope Francis:
The secular thinker is not aware of, does not want to hear, disguises the word of poverty. Not as a sign of timidity, but because he looks down on it. The secular thinker does not like the way of the Son of God, who humiliated himself, became poor in order to be as one with us. The rich young man in the Gospel obeyed all the commandments but had a fear of poverty and went away sadly.
It is a must to well manage our possessions. This is our obligation because goods are presents of God. If, however, these possessions enter into our heart and take control of us, then we will lose our life.
Our Mother Church is poor. God likes the poor. So let’s ask ourselves a question: what is my attitude towards poverty?
Remember, the first one of the eight ‘True Happiness’ is “Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor”, those who do no boast (insist on) of their assets and secular powers.
Our ministry is for glory of Jesus.
GUIDING TEACHING/Consolidation:”I would like to consolidate what my great forefather Pope John Paul II wrote in his Sollicitudio rei socialis encyclical when the Catholic Church expressed his cooperating willingness with the charitable organisations of these Churches and communities. We are all active from the same basic motivation and keep before our eyes the same objective: a true humanism which recognize in people God’s image and wants to help them to carry out their lives according to this dignity (Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedek XVI, God is love beginning encyclical)
Thanks to God, and to our Father Karol Wojtyla who is living in heaven in his company , to our patrons and supporters the social Center, cultural institute, meeting place and friendship house named after Karol Wojtyla borned in Wadowice –after the foundation of the institute in 2005- could open its gates in its full pageantry on 24th May 2009. the ribbon before the entrance was cut by Ewa Filipiak mayor of Wadowice, dr Balázs Bábel archbishop of Kalocsa-Kecskemét, and dr Gábor Zombor mayor of Kecskemét. The wonder happened: a four year of preparational and a one and half year of building process ended. From this day on continously increasing our services we are able to accept those one and half hundred people, poor who are in need of food, clothes, basics of life - in a real home. Now the program, activity written down in the Foundation Document happening.
The several function and services in the nicely furnished building preaches and carries the symbolics of life-giving bread and soul, heaven and earth. The work-that was created with the wonderous help of Wadowice’s born -with its pursuits would like to express the mistery of the man living by spirit but in need of earthly resources, nutrition and the caring Father , moreover Jesus multiplying the fish and bread for the hungry.
The establishment is in the same time a social institute, rehabilitaton center, church, museum, exhibition hall and community center.
The founders and their colleagues would raise memories to the God blessed world mending works of the happy memoried Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) with their works and enthusiasm of the theology, gospel of „Non abbiate paura! Do not be afraid!”.
The most important were to the the fundaments the gospel which was well completed by studying the works of Pope John Paul II , getting to know his lifeexample, his moral theological teachings, and the righteous man in his person, the example of the serving pastor.
Already the initiating idea and later the organizing and the process of building raised the interest and sympathy of the land , the town, and the believers over the borders who are honouring Karol Wojtyla. The statios of the building process were followed by pilgrims, the donators, helpers, supporters which multiplied. The resources lacking investment did not stuck for a minute in lack of finances. A praying group and a social work group were developed which planned and prepared the operation of the House. The works were lead by József Pintér an entrepreneur in Kecel, as the president of the supporting seniors, and Ferenc Molnár building manager, owner of Molnár Woodworks, ensuring the guaranteed funding. By the finishing of the reconstruction the Famous town –to whom the government of Kecskemét offered the once very nice but at the handover ruined house - became richer with a nice imposing international building. It is a joy that Kecskemét town –thanks to Mayor dr Gábor Zombor and dr András Iványosi –Szabó deputy mayor-put the Egressy Street and the entrance part of the Institute in order. There is in Kecskemét already Karol Wojtyla Square. A park which is designated for the statue of the Church leader….
The institute gives dayly free lunch for 120-150 people.
Cultural, past-time , informative activities and medical, lifestyle, legal advice/series of lectures started. Spiritual courses- excursions- exhibitions, rehabilitation advices.
The animators of the house, personal helpers are continually in contact with the supported in order to give guidence, help, spiritual support, and consolation to their everyday problems and troubles.
Through Family Help Service and the recommendation of the Catholic Caritas Groups can get somebody into the supported circle of the Institute. The Institute has two small rooms, a banquet hall and a wide dining room in which the experts can deal with the supported. Though there would be demand to widen the circle of the supported but because of lack of space we can integrate new partners only in case of vacancy It is among the plans of the institute to buy the neighbouring real estates to have more space and it would make the system of services more colourful. The fundraising for the development - around one hundred million HUF - already began. To our joy from November 2009 a group of the Hungarian Catholic Caritas works in the institute, namely the Karol Wojtyla Center became part of a prestigious organization of a great past which connects it to the Hungarian Catholic Church leadership and to the archdiociese of Kalocsa-Kecskemét.
Karol Wojtyla Friendship Centre
Address: Egressy utca 5/b
Run by: Wojtyla Ház Szociális Ellátó és Szolgáltató Non-profit Ltd.
Address: Végh Mihály tér 5
Telephone/ Fax number: + 36 76 506 752; +36 76 505 041
Mobile: + 36 30 9251 654
We also provide a wide variety of activities besides the day-to-day running of the Wojtyla Friendship Centre. Since the opening ceremony our activists and volunteers have been giving support to people in a lot of ways.
Hot meal and drink on the Main Square of Kecskemét (19th December)
The weather got extremely cold before Christmas. So our activists decided to give hot meal and hot drink to the needy on the Main Square of Kecskemét, next to Saint Nicholas Church. From 20th December bread with dripping and hot lemon tea were served from morning till night. Our volunteers also gave immediate help to those who seemed to be ill or showed the symptoms of hypothermia. “Everybody can turn to our activists with confidence in these days” – said József Farkas P., the managing director of Wojtyla House.
Giving presents to poor families (15th December)
“It is better to give than to receive.” This meaning of this sentence is getting more and more important as Christmas is coming. Zoltán Bajkó, the parish priest from Pálmonostora, visited us at the Friendship House a few days ago. He asked us to help some honest but poor families belonging to his parish. We put together thirty gift packages containing food and beverage items, which were distributed among the families by Reverend Bajkó before Christmas. We hope that these presents made their Christmas merry and happy.
Doctors at Friendship Centre (12th December)
The Karol Wojtyla Friendship Centre had special guests on 12th December: Mayor Dr Gábor Zombor and Dr Lajos Németh, specialist for internal diseases. Their visit was not a one-off, as they volunteered to give regular medical advice to socially disadvantaged people who are suffering from different illnesses free of charge. The Friendship House provides a separate room where the patients can consult the doctors about their health, lifestyle, physical and mental problems. We are very happy that Dr János Tóth, specialist for internal diseases and Dr Géza Bazóki, the head of Bács-Kiskun County Hospital have also joined the medical team.
Supporting joint-families (5th December)
Families are the basis of a healthy society, so we lay special emphasis upon supporting them. They are having more and more problems in a constantly changing social environment. The parents who often do overtime have hardly any time for their children. It is also very difficult for the parents to buy the Christmas presents for them. We try to do our best to help them. On Saint Nicholas Day (5th December), the Wojtyla Friendship House was full of children: we organized programmes for kids and their parents who live in a joint- family. They took part in a handicraft activity where they made honey-cakes and Santa Claus figures from apples, nuts and other natural ingredients. All of them enjoyed the common experience very much. Thanks to our donators, we were able to give the kids some presents as well and thus make their Christmas dreams come true.
Health Day at Wojtyla House (21st October)
In the second half of October we received plenty of presents that can be used for hygienic purposes. The Karol Wojtyla Friendship Centre seeks to aid families with financial difficulties, so we decided to distribute these donations among them. They got toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, disposable nappies, sponges and baby cream; we also gave a cot and a pram to two other families as a present. We hope that these gifts will improve the quality of their lives a little bit.
Supporting ex-prisoners (9th October)
It is well-known that the Wojtyla House gives a lot of support to people who have just been freed from prison too, promoting their reintegration into the society. We believe that everybody has a right to a second chance and setting a good example has positive and useful effects. According to the agreement between our institute and the police, prisoners and ex-prisoners will do the cleaning, the gardening and repair broken things regularly at the Friendship House. There are other forms of cooperation between us. Our activists will help to prepare and organize programmes in the prison and they will also bring presents for prisoners who have lost contact with their relatives.
Children at Friendship House (28th August)
About 30 Wojtyla-children were invited to a talk in the Friendship Centre on Thursday. They are socially disadvantaged pupils whose parents often turn to us for help. We had two guests at the Friendship House: István Kecskeméti, the owner of the stationer’s in Horváth Döme Street, who gave the parents a 2000-forint voucher and Béla Koi, the owner of Saloon Pizzeria, who offered soft drinks and sweets. József Farkas P., the managing director of the Karol Wojytla Friendship Centre, said that there would be special activities for the children in the institute from September. Everybody is welcome to join the programmes.
Environmental protection for kids (5th August)
Environmental protection is one of the most important topics nowadays. Governments and individuals should take some actions to protect nature and also draw all children’s attention to this key issue. We feel ourselves bound to organize environmental protection programmes for children. In the summer the Wojtyla Friendship Centre invited a lot of enthusiastic children to draw some pictures about this topic. The most beautiful ones are on exhibit in the hall of the Porta Association.
Excursion on Children’s Day (2nd June)
On Children’s Day the Karol Wojtyla Friendship Centre offered a special gift to the socially disadvantaged pupils of Vörösmarty Mihály Primary School. On Tuesday nearly fifty of them took part in an unforgettable excursion to the alkali lakes in Kelemenszék organized by our institute. The programme included the exploration of the rich flora and fauna of the region, and bird-watching. In addition, the children also got acquainted with the Hungarian shepherds’ traditional lifestyle and their gastronomy. As the photos show, they had a very good time in the Kiskunság National Park We hope it was an experience that they will never forget. We would like to express thanks to Tibor Utassy for the excellent guided tour and to Gusztáv Kőrös, the chairman of the Gypsy Self-Government of Solt for the cooperation.
The Karol Wojtyla Friendship Centre seeks to establish relationships with partners and other organizations abroad. Our first partner was the town of Wadowice in Poland, the hometown of Pope John Paul II. The relationship between us has been thriving since our first visit in 2007. We have also been planning to enter into relations with other Italian and German towns that important members of the Roman Catholic Church are or were connected with.
Our Polish relations
Our relationship with Wadowice dates back to 2007. Since then, the delegation of the Karol Wojtyla Friendship Centre and the representatives of Wadowice have visited each other’s town several times furthering the Hungarian-Polish relations.
On 3rd May 2007 the delegation of the Friendship Centre paid its first visit abroad to Wadowice. József Farkas P., the managing director of the Wojtyla House and Tamás Csontos, the activist of the institute were given a warm reception in the town, where Karol Wojtyla was born and lived until the age of 18. After handing over the deed of foundation of the Wojtyla House to Mayor Ewa Filipiak, we spoke about the aims and mission of the Friendship Centre.
The mayoress also took over the letter in which Dr Gábor Zombor, the mayor of Kecskemét, proposed starting a twin town relationship between the two towns. The idea was received very positively with much encouragement. Ewa Filipiak, who knew John Paul II personally and visited him in Rome and Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence several times, promised to support the initiative. Four months later the official document was signed by the two mayors in Kecskemét.
In May 2008 Ewa Filipiak invited our delegation to the festival in Wadowice commemorating the Holy Father’s 88th birthday. We also took the portrait of John Paul II that was offered to our institute by the contemporary painter Ferenc Kő with us. It was consecrated by Jan Szkodon, the assistant bishop of the Archbishop of Kraków in front of more than 4000 people who attended the Mass celebrated on the main square. Then József Farkas P., the leader of the delegation, delivered a brief speech to the audience and spoke about the foundation of the Karol Wojtyla Friendship Centre and the renovation works. A number of people promised to make a donation to the Wojtyla House. The mayoress, for instance, pledged to cover the expenses of the construction of the main entrance.
On the third day of our visit, Cardinal Dziwisz, who worked with the Holy Father as his secretary for 40 years, received the delegation in Krakow. We introduced the institute, its mission and also described our development plans. He made a promise to support them using his personal influence and pay a visit to Kecskemét in the near future.
In the summer our Polish friends (Ewa Filipiak, Stanislaw Kotarba, Zdzislaw Szczur) returned our visit. They spent two days in the Hírös Város, and took part in both formal and informal meetings. Our guests also viewed the renovation works at the Karol Wojtyla Centre and were fascinated by the results. It was also discussed how we can further intensify the relations between the two towns.
24th May 2009 marked the culminating point of the Hungarian-Polish relations. After four years of hard work the Wojtyla House was opened, among others, by Mayor Ewa Filipiak, who also gave the assembled company a speech in which she spoke about Pope John Paul II and expressed her appreciation of our efforts to give support to poor people. Lech Kaczynski, the President of the Republic of Poland, Cardinal Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow and Donald Tusk, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland congratulated us in a letter read out by Joanna Stempinska, the Polish Ambassador to Budapest. They also spoke highly of the good relationship and the cooperation between the two nations and wished the institute every success.
This event was followed by our pilgrimage to the homeland of John Paul II in June: Wadowice invited delegations from its twin towns to a 3-day festival and organized different programmes for them. On the first day the guests visited the concentration camps in Auschwitz-Birkenau; while on the second day we took part in formal meetings. We negotiated with Daniela Strzelecka, the curator of the Museum of the Holy Father Family House, the members of the town council and the other delegations from Italy and Germany. We were happy that the Friendship Centre was in the centre of public attention in the papal town: a lot of people enquired about its main objectives and activities. Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the Vatican official in charge of promoting the cause to declare Pope John Paul II a saint, also congratulated on the opening of the Friendship Centre. We had the opportunity to meet Stanislaw Dziwisz, who also keenly interested in the latest developments at the Wojtyla House too. After the mass the Cardinal consecrated the flag of the Porta Association, which Dr Balázs Bábel, the Archbishop of Kalocsa-Kecskemét gave to the organization in 2007.
We were glad that Ewa Filipiak accepted the invitation to the Hírös Hét Festival and returned to our town in August once again. She and József Farkas P. opened an exhibition entitled ‘The Birth of a Friendship’, which represents the friendship between the two towns. The exhibits were brought from Wadowice and displayed in the Friendship Centre. Finally, József Farkas P. gave the mayoress a copy of a street sign saying Karol Wojtyla utca (‘Karol Wojtyla Street’) – the original can be found on the outer wall of the institute. As it turned out later, this present was taken to their local history museum.
Our Italian relations
We have taken the first steps to enter into closer relations with Italian partners as well. In May 2009 we took part in a festival in Wadowice, to which delegations from the hometowns of prelates and popes were invited. We managed to establish contacts with Pietrelcina and San Giovanni Rotondo. The former is the birthplace of Padre Pio, a Capuchin priest with the Christ-like stigmata wounds on his hands. The latter is the town where he lived, worked and died in 1968. The relationship between him and Karol Wojtyla dates back to 1947, when the young Polish priest visited the monk to have his confession heard by him. Padre Pio was beatified and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1999 and 2002 respectively. As the pictures show, the Italian guests treated us as friends from the first moment we met.
Although we were going go to San Giovanni Rotondo in June to attend the mass performed by Pope Benedict XVI and pay tribute to Padre Pio, the pilgrimage was cancelled, because nothing can be more important for us than the mission of the Wojtyla Friendship House. However, in the near future we would like to visit this picturesque town and Padre Pio’s tomb as soon as possible and further develop the relationship with our Italian partners.