The Honorable Zygmunt Matynia
Consul General of the Republic of Poland
1530 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60610
Dear Consul General Matynia:
I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear that President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria had been killed in an airplane crash earlier today, along with so many other Polish government officials, military officers, and cultural and business leaders. I offer my deepest condolences to you and to the families, friends and colleagues of those who died so tragically. At the same time, I extend my sympathy to the people of the Republic of Poland and of Polonia throughout the world, particularly here in the Archdiocese of Chicago, as they grieve the sudden and overwhelming loss of so many of their brothers and sisters. When I celebrate Mass this weekend, I will remember in a special way all those who perished and all who are filled with sorrow at this profound moment of loss for Poles everywhere.
This disaster took the lives of people who were on their way to remember other leaders of the Polish nation who had been murdered seven decades earlier in the massacre at Katyn Forest. I learned earlier today that Mr. Wojciech Seweryn, the artist whose father was killed at Katyn and who led the project to construct a Katyn memorial at Saint Adalbert Cemetery in Niles, was among those who lost his life in this terrible accident. May they be forever remembered for this final act of generosity and solidarity, and may God reward them eternally for their love.
I pray that the Lord, whose Resurrection we celebrate during this season, and who brings life out of death and hope out of despair, will have mercy on all who died and grant consolation and peace to those who mourn.