Activity

Running groups of interior life

While still in his teens, Fr. Tadeusz recognized the vocation to interior life.[1] It would give him pleasure when he met others interested in interior life whom he could tell about it and discuss this subject, infecting them with his own passion.[2] The first circle of interior life run by him was established on his return from Rome in 1972 in the Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Warsaw.[3] In 1975 Fr. Dajczer had a deep interior experience through which he understood that “faith is a different, a completely different way of seeing the world”.[4] He was trying to share with others this personal discovery of what the faith is, which bore fruit of his multiplied involvement in establishing and running groups of interior life.[5] One of those groups run in the Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Warsaw followed him in 1983 to St. Saint Thérese of the Child Jesus Parish in Tamka Str. where he moved and, among other activities, took up looking after the sick.[6] It was here where the group adopted the name Ecclesia. It was thought that some day from its members the all-female secular institute as well as the one for married people might come into being. And in this very group the Families of Nazareth Movement has its beginnings.

Spiritual direction

Father Dajczer had a strong experience of God and a particular knowledge of human heart with its deepest dynamisms.[7] He was favoured with the charisma of spiritual direction to which he devoted most of his time.[8]. It was evident in his writings. Guiding the readers on the paths of spiritual life, he would highlight the development of faith and reveal that the bond with Christ is the source of life for Christians.[9] He did it in a convincing manner by the tangible examples from Abraham to John Paul II.[10] He was a sought-after spiritual director[11], who “would help to become amazed with God and choose God”.[12]. In 1989 he would have around 400 regular penitents.[13] “For some he was just a confessor and an adviser. (…) For many – the understanding father, strengthening their faith in difficulties, bolstering up their courage for the way further on.”[14] He could be very demanding for those few of his penitents who, in his opinion, were particularly chosen and gifted by God.[15]

Lecturing and writing

Father Tadeusz was a talented lecturer, highly valued by the authorities and the students of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw (the former Academy of Catholic Theology).[16] “In his lectures, there had to be a problem set and a view on it included. An interesting way of setting a problem makes students interested in its solution, whereas the visual methods appeal to them, making the understanding and assimilating the issue easier. (…) In his papers and spiritual writings he also paid special attention to the third element that he called “attractiveness”. (…) The informative function once in a while receded into the background to concentrate, to stimulate the listener or the reader to adopt a definite attitude or to make a choice. Himself, he was extremely critical of his own writings. As a general rule, he would engage someone to correct the style of what he was writing, considering that he could not write well himself. Many of his works, however, have been published with no need of any stylistic corrections.”[17]

The Families of Nazareth Movement

The Families of Nazareth Movement came into being “as the fruit of his [Fr. Dajczer’s] own spiritual quests and many years’ ministry among university students.”[18]. In the 1970s the groups of spiritually searching students gathered around Fr. Dajczer.[19] Many members of those groups were in need of spiritual direction which could hardly be met by Fr. Dajczer together with another priest Fr. Andrzej Buczel.[20]. Father Dajczer was never interested in any organization structures and he left them over to lay animateurs. The structures of the Families of Nazareth Movement were established in 1985 on the initiative of the laypersons, Sławomir Biela in particular. Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer was considered the founder of the Movement, to which he consented.[21]. He did not want, however, to have any power within the Movement and passed it over quickly to Fr. A. Buczel. Since then he never interfered in managing the Movement and dealt exclusively with the matters of conscience.[22]. In autumn 1995 he fell seriously ill[23], which restricted his physical abilities and practically excluded him from public activity to such extent that he was granted written permission from the Metropolitan Curia in Warsaw to read the Holy Mass in private instead of the church[24].

X was active in the Movement. Earlier, in the 1970 he took part in student meetings run by Fr. Dajczer. He claimed that God had been speaking to him and the Mother of God made use of him. Having found no evidence of mental illness and seeing the beneficial impact of X. on the members of the Movement, Fr. Dajczer presumed that there might have been a meaning as well as a deeper God’s action in what was happening and was constantly examining this phenomenon. In 1992 he spoke about X with the Primate of Poland. Ultimately, assessing the fruits of X’s activity, Fr. Dajczer concluded in the spring of 2007 that there was nothing supernatural in it, only outstanding human psychological and social engineering capabilities as well as theoretical expertise in interior life.[25].

Here is how Fr. Dajczer described the meaning of the Movement for his life: “There would not have been the books on the Eucharist if there had not been the Families of Nazareth Movement beforehand. (…) Looking back it can be seen that my own nature needed certain environment in which something could have arisen… That is why the Movement was essential, not only as (…) [purification], but in a positive way as a necessity for the books on the Eucharist to have come into being…”[26]

An attempt to help the Movement in crisis[27]

In September 2007, seeing the drama of the Movement, Father Tadeusz turned to its moderator with a suggestion to step in as a founder to counteract the crisis. Then, with full approval of the moderator, Fr. Dajczer took up telephone conversations with Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz as his superior, seeking the best way out. Upon having considered various options, Fr. Tadeusz once asked the Archbishop whether he, being its founder, could dissolve the Movement in the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Warsaw. Having understood that the Archbishop allowed such a solution, he wrote a letter in which he expressed his decision as the Movement founder to dissolve it within the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Warsaw for lack of any other way out. The Archbishop ultimately did not approve of this solution. Later, in October of 2007, Fr. Dajczer was still trying to help the moderator of the Movement to reconcile with its two priests (J.P. and T.G.) and with this he ended his attempt to assist the Movement.

 

[1] Cf. The website of Fidei Publishing, Rev. Professor Tadeusz Dajczer.
[2] Cf. ibid.
[3] Cf. ibid.
[4] http://www.pmk-sa.com/dokumenty/wywiad.htm The interview of Dorota Narewska, Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer – the Founder of the Families of Nazareth Movement, [in]: Paul Josef Cordes, Signs of hope. Movements and New Realities in Life of the Church on the Eve of the Jubilee, Edycja Świętego Pawła, Częstochowa 1998, s.159. [wywiad Doroty Narewskiej, Ks. Tadeusz Dajczer Założyciel Ruchu Rodzin Nazaretańskich, [in:] Paul Josef Cordes, Znaki Nadziei. Ruchy i nowe rzeczywistości w życiu Kościoła w wigilię Jubileuszu, Edycja Świętego Pawła, Częstochowa 1998, p.159.]
[5] The interview of Dorota Narewska, Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer…, op. cit., p.161.
[6] Por. The website of Fidei Publishing, Rev. Professor Tadeusz Dajczer.
[7] Cf. Bruno Forte, Foreword to the Italian edition [Presentazione], [in:] Tadeusz Dajczer, Dialogo sulla fede, San Paolo, Milano 1995, p.10-11.
[8] Cf. René Laurentin, Foreword to the French edition [Préface], [in:] Tadeusz Dajczer, Méditations sur la foi, Fraçois-Xavier de Guibert, Paris 2006, p.7,9.
[9] Cf. Rev. Zbigniew Krzyszowski, Dajczer Tadeusz, [in:] Rev. Marian Rusecki et al. ed., The Lexicon of Fundamental Theology [Leksykon teologii fundamentalnej], Lublin – Kraków 2002, p.299-300.
[10] Ibid.
[11] http://www.frboleslav.eu/page3.html Fr. Bolesław Szewc, A Reminiscence of Father Professor Tadeusz Dajczer
[12] Ibid.
[13]< Ibid.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Cf. The information on the website of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw http://www.uksw.edu.pl/pl/node/1254
[17] http://www.frboleslav.eu/page3.html Fr. Bolesław Szewc, A Reminiscence of Father Professor Tadeusz Dajczer.
[18] Alina Petrowa-Wasilewicz, The Lexicon of the Movements and Associations in the Church [Leksykon ruchów i stowarzyszeń w Kościele], Warszawa 2000, s.38.
[19] Cf. René Laurentin, Foreword to the French edition [Préface], op. cit., p.7.
[20] The interview of Dorota Narewska, Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer…, op. cit., p.161.
[21] http://www.frboleslav.eu/page3.html Fr. Bolesław Szewc, A Reminiscence of Father Professor Tadeusz Dajczer
[22] Ibid.
[23] Por. Webside of FIDEI Publishing, Rev. Professor Tadeusz Dajczer.
[24] Ibid.
[25] http://www.frboleslav.eu/page3.html Fr. Bolesław Szewc, A Reminiscence of Father Professor Tadeusz Dajczer
[26] Por. Webside of FIDEI Publishing, Rev. Professor Tadeusz Dajczer.
[27] http://www.frboleslav.eu/page3.html Fr. Boleslaw Szewc, A Reminiscence of Father Professor Tadeusz Dajczer

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