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Poland: All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, a fund-raising campaign to refurbish deserted graveyards

In Poland, both All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are traditionally an opportunity not just to visit one relatives’ graves, but also to help restore deserted graveyards. The initiative began in Warsaw in 1975 and as spread out to the entire country, helping refurbish memorial monuments, not just in Catholic graveyards, but in Jewish and Orthodox ones as well. The initiative is actually supported by filmmakers, such as Krzysztof Zanussi, famous film and theatre actors, politicians and sports champions, as well as priests, religious men and women. The funds are used not only to cover the cost for the restoration of graveyards in Poland but Polish graveyards in Ukraine and Lithuania as well, and are given to homes for elderly and terminally-ill people. In many cities, tomorrow’s fund-raising campaign will start after a solemn liturgy officiated by ordinaries of the diocese, in Cracow by cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, in Warsaw by cardinal Kazimierz Nycz as well as by the archbishop of the diocese of Warsaw-Prague, monsignor Henryk Hoser. In Poland, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are deeply rooted in tradition: such holidays were not abolished even under the communist rule.

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