Historia parafii - język Angielski

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1. The Village of Chmiel

Chmiel, a village in the Lubelskie Voivodeship, Jabłonna community, borders on the Krzczonowski Natural Landscape Park. It is a secluded place, nestling about 30 kilometres from Lublin. It used to be situated on the Krzczonów – Głusk – Lublin route. It was a village with wayside inns and a profitable leasehold for the Elders, constituing a Royal property with an area of 22,5 feoffs and “employing” 40 serfs. From 1532 it contained a royal farm, but this was burnt down during the 17th Century Swedish invasion – “The Deluge”. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the village belonged to the Chmiel estate, a government property. The last leaseholder of the estate, before the agrarian reform of 15 July 1920, was the Byczyńscy family. As a result of the reform, it was divided up.. One part was taken over by the State Forest; the arable land was distributed among the people entitled to it according to the law; and the rest (17.5 morgen –9,8 ha) designated for the not-yet-established Roman-Catholic parish.

The name of the village refers to a cultivable plant, the humulus, or hop, which, no surprise, was cultivated for the local inns. More surprising is that it is not cultivated in this region any more - production of wheat and sugar-beets predominates.

Only the parish chronicle, issued in the 1960's, mentions that the local people have Tatarian roots. However, the people living here are good-tempered, friendly and immersed in their own affairs. They are as “snug as a bug in a rug”, so to speak.

2. The establishment of the Roman Catholic parish in the village of Chmiel.

The village was subject to the Krzczonów parish, whose church was 10 kilometres away. Such a distance was not particularly favourable for the systematic and active participation in the religious life of the parish, whereas the “unorthodox” church in Chmiel attracted people with its proximity and congeniality. The people did not distinguish between the two churches - they neither participated in the theological disputes nor noticed the difference - after all, the exterior was just the same as the Krzczonów church.
The establishment of the new parish was initiated by Father Jan Bednarek, the Krzczonów parish provost, and His Eminence Marian Leon Fulman, Bishop Ordinary of the Lublin Diocese, with the active help of the zealous believers. The local Roman-Catholics desired not only to have their own shrine in the village, but also to resist the influence of the Mariavite Old-Catholic Church, whose cult centre and numerous worshippers could be found in Chmiel. There were still several Mariavites living here in the early 1950's. Nowadays, the only tangible reminder of their existence is the cemetery, people's memory and reminiscences of the shrine, which until 1989 (when fire destroyed it) served the Catholics of Giełczew.

The endeavour to establish a parish in Chmiel was commenced by the building of the new church. In the Spring of 1929 the foundations were laid and on 15 September the same year the site was consecrated by His Eminence Bishop Marian Fulman. On 1 October the same year the Chmiel parish was established by the power of  Decree No 3637, separating it from the Krzczonów parish, along with other villages, Chmiel I and II, Colony of  Chmiel, Majdanek Chmielowski and Wolnica. Simultaneously, a cemetery was established in the parish.

On 14 October 1929, as ordered by Bishop Marian Fulman, Father Antoni Zieliński, the Dean of Bychawa, in the presence of Father Jan Bednarek, provost of Krzczonów and the Church Council, announced filial vicar Doctor Wiktor Możejka as provost of the newly-founded parish. Simultaneously, Bishop Fulman appointed the new parish council members by Decree No 3975 as of 29 October 1929.

At first, the Chmiel parish was subject to the Bychawa Deanery. However, within a reasonably short period, it was incorporated into the Piasecki Deanery, and still is, by the Ordinance of Bishop Ordinary No 77 as of 8 January 1932.

3. Roman-Catholic parish in Chmiel

From very beginning, the new structural organism within the framework of the hierarchical church struggled to evolve, but most of all struggled to create a living parish community. It was an enormous challenge for the first provost of Chmiel, and his successors.

The newly-built parish was endowed with an area of 17.5 morgen, granted in 1920 from a parcel of land from the national estate of Chmiel, with rent paid according to the Parcellation Act. Not until the early 1990's did the land, which had been leased for centuries, become the property of the parish. Legal status was settled and the land register issued.

Thanks to the generosity of the parishioners, who subjected themselves to taxes voluntarily, it was possible to build the church, and later the presbytery and farm buildings.
In order to stimulate the religious life of the parish, Father Możejko created The Third Order of St. Francis. The founder's certificate of this society wasissued in 1930 in Radecznica and placed in the parish archives. Unfortunately, this is the only remaining evidence of the existence of this religious organisation. The Chmiel parish’s branch of The Association of the Living Rosary was a huge success: the parish had 11 "Rosary Roses" – subsidiary societies - before the war. Today, there are only two left: the Apostolate of Prayer and the Creation of the Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart. Letters written by their members are the best proof of their popularity. At the moment of creation of the Third Order of St. Francis, 23 people joined this pious society, the Apostolate of Prayer gathered 150 people, while 38 faithful joined the Creation of the Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart.

The evolution of the parish community was not disrupted by the outbreak of the 2nd World War.. At that time, the provost of the parish was Father Jan Szczepański, described as the "Lublin Popiełuszko", as he was murdered in 1948 in Brzeźnica Bychawska by unknown assassins, most likely from the Soviet-controlled Office of Security (UB). The provost and the parishioners tried not to let the new political order influence their religious lives. His successor, Father Józef Podkul, continued the work of his predecessors in the difficult years of German occupation.

The period following the warfare on Polish territory carried new and difficult tasks for the Catholic Church, as well as for the whole Polish community. Not only was it a time of restoration of the devastated cities and villages, but, above all, a time for the people to rebuild their humanity and conscience. It was also the time when the people seized power and strengthened it, which was strongly objected to by the Catholic Church. In these troubled times Father Podkul commenced work at the parish in Chmiel. Here he survived an attack by unknown assailants on the presbytery, during which incident he was wounded. He, however, was not intimidated and still fulfilled his duties. He was remembered as a good host and shepherd.

Particularly important in the history of the parish was Father Jan Stryjecki, sixth provost of Chmiel. It was he who elaborated on the pastoral works which are still continued faithfully in the parish. Thanks to the chronicle he kept we now know how much he did for the revival of religious life in the parish. You can easily say that he began what is called “grassroots” work. Apart from running the church and the housework, he put a great deal of effort into the care of religious life of the people for whom he took responsibility before God. He grieved over people's lack of appreciation towards the good which religion brought with it, (like the sacraments, especially confession and communion), low mass attendance, and distrust of the parishioners towards him. However, Father Stryjecki did not blame the believers for their religious indifference, for "the time was long when the people of Chmiel did not experience the Heart, were kept away from the Heart, and neglected the Cult of the Sacred Heart”. That’s why, in order to revive the religious life, he organised sacred missions, so "the parish of Chmiel acquired the requisite religious level"; and established forms of service in use to this day: May service, October service, Rorate mass, Vespers, Rogations and introduced the less-known in the parish Stations of the Cross and First Fridays. What revived the desire for the parishioners to pray was the introduction into the liturgy of the Easter vigil by the Vatican Council II,, which inspired this small community to join the mainstream Prayer of the Universal Church. This was expressed by attendance at the Vigils in the parish church, and delegations of the parishioners to Jasna Góra, in order to, among others, submit the Book of Soborowe Czyny Dobroci. The great man shepherded his parish for many years - Father Stryjecki also solemnly marked the Millennium celebrations - When Jasnogórskie Vows were renewed, and Vigils and prayers were organised.

Religious life flourished, the distrust towards priests was broken and the generosity towards the parish was greeted with appreciation. The period of the People's Republic of Poland (PRL) became significant in the pastoral works in the parish. According to Father Jan Stryjecki, after his pastoral visits, the militia went round the houses asking questions about his words, if he denounced civil marriage, and so forth. Nonetheless, most of the parishioners proved loyal to the Church.

Parishioners of Chmiel, hungry for a deeper relationship with God, searched for, and are still searching for, the appropriate prayer groups. Some of the parishioners joined the societies and formation groups operating in the parish, in addition to participating in the services conducted according to the liturgical calendar. Currently, there are several associations active in the parish: the Rosary Circle, the Catholic Youth Association, the Pastoral Council, the Altar Servers and Lectors Society, the Children of Mary, the Legion of Mary, the Home Church of the Light - Life Movement. There is a computer lab with access to the Internet for children and young people, who have a room where they can meet, talk and actively participate in the life of the parish at their disposal.

4. The Parish Church
The Our Lady of Częstochowa Parish Church in Chmiel was built in 1929. It is a brick building, styled as according to the Lublin Renaissance, with a semicircular Presbytery, a small sacristy next to it, and a straight nave ending with a choir section, without a vestibule. It has a ridged roof, covered with sheet metal.

The Presbytery is small, equipped with two stained-glass windows: on the eastern wall it presents Saint Kazimierza Królewicz; on the western wall - Saint Queen Jadwiga. There is a small turret with an ave-bell above the Presbytery. The main altar is dominated from above by the reproduction of the painting of Our Lady of Częstochowa, a gift from the mother parish. The altarpiece is made of oak wood and equipped with two pillars ornamented with a motif of grapevine; it climbs both sides of the painting and crowns it in the form of a medallion with a letter "P" inscribed inside the letter "M". In 1963, thanks to the effort of Father Stryjecki, a golden tabernacle consecrated by His Eminence Father Bishop Piotr Kałwa, was placed in the altarpiece.

The side altars are wooden, simple in form. The first holds a reproduction of the painting of Our Lady of Good Counsel, from the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lublin. It is not clear how it came to rest in Chmiel - it is not listed in the inventory of the transfer of equipment from the mother parish in 1929. However, it is listed in the Church's property inventory of 1932, prepared by the first provost, Father Wiktor Możejka. One can assume that it was a gift for a new, scantily-furnished parish, but it is not clear who was the donor. The second side altar holds a modern painting of the Divine Mercy. The choir section is small, equipped with a modern organ, its original balustrade bequeathed by the Church in Trzeszczany. The main nave is equipped with wooden pews, made in 1990, and a wooden confessional. On the wall to the right is a painting of Saint Anthony, which arrived at the same time as the painting of Our Lady of Good Counsel; to the left a painting of Saint Joseph, transferred as part of the artifacts from the Krzczany parish. This parish also donated a monstrance, a metal procession cross, and a chalice, as a gift to the newly-built church. The parish church in Chmiel is listed in the Lubelskie Voiodship Cultural Assets Inventory, in spite of its scarce appurtenances

There is a metal belfry in the parish square built in 1988 instead of a wooden structure. It has two bells: "Mary" and Joseph", bought in 1950 thanks to the efforts of Father Jan Podkul to revive the spiritual life and to convene parishioners for services.

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