The Eucharist is not an abstraction.
Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś talks with
Archbishop Stanisław Nowak, Metropolitan of Częstochowa,
about the Eucharist and John Paul II.
“Niedziela” No. 18, 1. May 2011.
Translation of an excerpt from this interview
was published on this webpage on 7. July 2022.

Translated by Wojciech Kosek

p. 22: The Holy Father John Paul II, author of the Eucharistic encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” and so many other official statements of the Church on this great sacrament of love, lived the Eucharistic mystery daily in every inch of his personality. The direct witnesses of his daily life were greatly impressed by the anointing with which he celebrated the holiest sacrifice of the Mass. Many of us also had the grace of experiencing the Holy Mass while he was celebrating it in his private chapel at the Vatican. Looking at the Pope then, I felt he was seeing the Lord present on the altar.

In particular, his thanksgiving after Holy Communion was incredibly impressive. He used to cover his face in the presence of the majesty of the Eucharistic Lord or when he watched Him in the state of Golgotha...

Likewise, during long adorations, one could see that he was entering into some totality of the mystery happening before the eyes of his faith. In a word, his Eucharistic spirituality was nourished by experiencing the great God in his incomprehensible remoteness from us and at the same time in his incomprehensible closeness to us.

p. 24: The Holy Masses in the Vatican chapel that I attended were a great experience for me. The greatest endeavor of many priests was to reach Fr. Dziwisz and be able to experience how the Holy Father celebrates the Holy Mass in his chapel. We saw then that he was like a part of some whole, that he seemed to see… I remember several such Holy Masses when he immersed himself after each Communion into the world of prayer. The terms that always came to my mind were: the mystic pope, the pope who sees – he believes so much that he sees the Lord and is closest to giving himself to Him to the point of death. It was sometimes manifested in his face, which he covered; it was a very compelling spiritual experience of Eucharistic closeness. Publicly celebrating the great liturgies, he had to command certain rules of behavior to his heart, but then we also saw him closing his eyes in all simplicity and humility, immersed in prayer. When he was alone with the Lord Jesus, or only in narrow groups of priests or laity, this profound experience of God under the species of bread and wine became more apparent. One must know that mysticism is not about any revelations or exaltations. Mysticism is realism. Whoever lives by depth to the end is a man of mysticism – a man of unity with God, who is hidden.

Contemplation is not only prayer but an immersion into the reality of the mystical death of God on our behalf and instead of us in the sacramental signs. It is an experience of the mystery of faith. – The face of Christ is Christ. The One who, by receiving the insult on His face, was slapped, died for us, but then rose again, gives us His face as well.


As it concerns the priesthood, there is a great call for the Eucharistic holiness of priests. It is also a special emphasis of the Pope's thought. We saw him, felt him, and lived him during the period when he was forming us. I mean the time when he experienced Christmas with the seminarians, Christmas visits, and other celebrations. How much he wanted to instill in us the love for the Eucharist...