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Vatican's Polish staff begin exodus from Vatican


Polish priests and nuns who worked with Pope John Paul II have begun leaving the Vatican, marking the end of an era for those who worked with the pope throughout most of his papacy.

"For all Polish personnel, this is the end of an era -- it's as if the ground has been pulled from beneath their feet," said Dominican Father Konrad Hejmo, chief chaplain for Polish pilgrims in Rome.

Fr Hejmo told Catholic News Service that Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, the pope's personal secretary, left the Vatican at the weekend looking "sad and changed" and would live at the Polish house in Rome's Giustiniana suburb pending a decision from the next pope about his future.

He said the pope's other secretary, Msgr. Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, 46, was returning to his home in Lviv, Ukraine, to work for Latin-rite Cardinal Marian Jaworski of Lviv.

Several Polish Sacred Heart nuns, who cooked and cleaned for Pope John Paul throughout his pontificate, have been offered new Vatican accommodations by retired Cardinal Andrzej Deskur, another Pole, Father Hejmo said, while others would return to their motherhouse in Krakow, Poland.

"They're obviously sad to be leaving -- let's hope they find new strength and energy," the priest told CNS.

Catholic News Service also reports that the normal flow of paper, correspondence and meeting planning continues at the Vatican even while there is no pope.

However, the publication of documents, the nomination of new bishops and the approval of statutes for Catholic universities and religious orders have been suspended. Anything issued in the name of the Vatican or in the name of the pope is not only suspended, but must be approved by the next pope.

"The general rule is that all ordinary business continues," said the secretary of one Vatican congregation. "Like in most bureaucracies, most of our business is ordinary business."

Commissions and subcommittees continue to meet, reports continue to be prepared, letters are being answered and Vatican officials are trying to tidy their desks enough to be able to inform the new pope about exactly where their various projects stand, officials said.

Meanwhile hundreds of pilgrims from the world over were allowed to pay their last respects at the tomb of Pope John Paul II for the first time yesterday.

"I want to pray at the tomb of the Holy Father," said Fr Leszek of the Pope's native Poland, as he stood in line with several hundred other people before dawn.

"It is very hard to apply his teachings in our lives, so I want to beg him for help."

SOURCE
Polish church personnel begin exodus from Vatican after pope's death (Catholic News Service 12/4/05)
Still a bureaucracy: Normal paperwork continues its flow at Vatican (Catholic News Service 13/4/05)
Hundreds queue at dawn to see Pope's tomb (ABC News 13/4/05)

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14 Apr 2005