Kamesznica 2x * Zamość * Częstochowa * Stary Sącz * Rzym * Kraków * Białystok * Koszęcin * Ludźmierz * Warszawa * Olsztyn * Wrocław * Bydgoszcz * Tarnów * Łomża * Miejsce Piastowe * Radom * Kraków * Wieleń Zaobrzański * Kamesznica * Krynica * Myczkowce
Ad majorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salutem - for the greater glory of God and salvation of man.
We all the [catholically married] couples that celebrated their wedding without alcohol, to (Poland) on to the thPolish National Meeting "Wedding of the Weddings" (in Polish "Wesele Wesel").
Young, intelligent, independent and thinking Poles are marrying without alcohol.
In Polish, wedding reception is called “wesele” meaning in English “The Joy”. Everybody should enjoy the wedding, not the drinking.
The Priest Włdysław Zązel, heading a small parish in Kamesznica, is working very hard for spreading the tradition of non-alcoholic wedding receptions. In his parish, 120 out of 140 wedding receptions (as of 1994) were celebrated without alcohol. In 1995, he was invited by Radio “Maryja” (leading Catholic radio station) to tell the listeners about his experience with alcohol-free weddings. Listeners from all Poland were calling the radio station to say that alcohol-free weddings were organized by many individuals. Father Zązel proposed then to organize a meeting of those who had alcohol-free weddings. The meetings were called “Wedding of the Weddings”. First two such meetings were organized in Father Zązel’s parish Kamesznica, then in Zamość, Częstochowa, Stary Sącz, Kraków, Białystok, Koszęcin, Ludźmierz, Warszawa, Olsztyn, Wrocław, Bydgoszcz, Tarnów, Łomża Miejsce Piastowe (2010), Radom (2011), again Kraków (2012), Wieleń Zaobrzański (2013) and once again Kamesznica (2014), then in Krynica (2015), Myczkowce (2016). In 1999, Father Zązel went with alcohol-free couples to Rome, where they were blessed by Pope John Paul II. The forthcoming event will be held in Kamesznica.
The meetings are always multi-layered events. Everybody enjoys the all-night-long dancing. But there are also conferences, discussions, lectures, meetings with local state authorities and bishops. The couples swear love as on the day of their wedding and are blessed by the bishops. Every day they attend with their children Holy Masses celebrated specially for them. Even couples from abroad (Austria, Australia, France, Germany) feel attracted.
The 2007 national meeting took place in the first August weekend in 2007 in the picturesque city of Bydgoszcz in north west of Poland.
You can have a look at the 2007 meeting wedding reception, if you click the link.
The meetings pursue the goals:
FORMATION and INFORMATION
Conferences, workshops, symposia, panel discussions are organized. Participants share their experience in organizing alcohol-free entertainment, dancing etc.; help in organizing alcohol-free wedding reception is offered to those who are about to marry.
PROMOTION OF CULTURE
Meetings with scientists and artists take place
RECREATION and LEARNING THE BEAUTY OF THE HOMELAND
Organizers offer excursions, guided tours through historical towns, sighseeing tours, sport competitions etc.
RECOLLECTIONS and EVANGELIZATION
Daily Holy Mass with preaches by Church shepherds (bishops, archbishops, cardinals) is attended. The role of matrimonial love, family and the moral principles in the life of society is specially underscored.
In the last night of the meeting, a wedding reception is celebrated. Parents demonstrate their children by example that they are really capable to dance und cheer without alcohol, so as hundreds of other people from whole Poland coming together that night.
The Wedding of the Weddings is strongly supperted by the Catholic Church. The Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have written several letters to the participants of these events. Many bishops attended the meetings, among them Cardinal Archbishop Franciszek Macharski of Kraków, Cardinal Archbishop Zenon Grocholewski from Vatican, Archbishop Wojciech Ziemba of Białystok, Archbishop Edmund Michał Piszcz of Warmia, Archbishop Józef Michalik of Przemyśl, by-then President of Polish Bishop Conference, Archbishop stanisław Gądecki of Poznań, Archbishop Alois Tkacz of Koszyce (Slovakia), Bishop Jan Tyrawa of Bydgoszcz, Bishop Stanisław Stefanek of Łomża (three times), Bishop Antoni Pacyfik Dydycz of Drohiczyn, Bishop Kazimierz Górny of Rzeszów, Bishop Andrzej Jeż of Tarnów, Bishop Józef Zawitkowski from Łowicz, Bishop Marian Duś from Warszawa, Bishop Jan Szkodoń from Kraków, Bishop Andrzej Siemieniewski from Wrocław, Bishop Wiesław Lechowicz from Tarnów, Bishop Tadeusz Bronakowski from Łomża, Bishop Tadeusz Zawistowski from Łomża, Bishop Adam Szal from Przemyśl, Bishop Piotr Greger from Bielsko-Biała-Żywiec.
In brief, the Christian initiative „Wesele Wesel“ [in English “Wedding of the Weddings” or "Joy of the weddings"] is engaged in spreading the idea of alcohol-free weddings. It should be stressed in this way that the real joy of a Christian wedding stems from the received Holy Sacrament of the Matrimony, from the love of the man and the woman, and from the wonderful message that a new family has been founded. At the "Weddings of the Weddings" the creme de la creme of Polish intellectuals comes together. Since 2006 the career of this initiative is the Association "Wesele Wesel".
You had an alcohol-free wedding reception? Share with us your experience.
Non-alcoholic Wedding Jokes
Readers interested in Polish culture are recommended to visit the following pages of this service:
The Organizers: Mrs. & Mr.
Initiator and spiritual superviser: Reverend Prelate Władysław Zązel
The Board of the Association Wedding of the Weddings
Remark: The official language of the Meeting is Polish.
If you need to contact us in English, please e-mail us at
See some Non-alcoholic Wedding Jokes
Readers interested in Polish culture are recommended to visit the following pages of this service:
Disclaimer: This Website uses CatholicEnglish. In particular, words like marriage, wedding, spouses, wife, husbnd, love, children mean what in CatholicEnglish is meant. The text may not make sense when one applies other English dialects to its understanding.
The first ever Wedding of the Weddings, a meeting of couples that married without alcohol, was celebrated in 1995 in Kamesznica, the parish of the famous Pater Zązel. Some 60 couples came together from Jelenia Góra, Wrocław, Wałbrzych, Łódź, Toruń, Skierniewice, Płock, Ostrołęka, Łomża, Białystok, Lublin, Rzeszów, Częstochowa, Kraków, Ochotnica Górna, Nowy Targ, Dębno Podhalańskie, Łopuszno, Szczwnica, Zakopane, Brzegi, Bielsko-Biała, Kęty, Chochołów and other places in Poland. The friendly villagers gave them shelters as to pilgrims, travelling to a shrine. In fact the village of Kamesznica is an original one with respect to the strength of faith of local inhabitants. A five miles long village, with one priest only, has three churches built there, at both ends and in the middle. And, what is most striking, over 100 couples from this village were also participants of the event, because non-alcoholic wedding became so popular here.
Kamesznica is a beautiful Górale village. It is an excellent example of the revival of folk culture. Pater Zązel is a great fan of Górale language, music and tradition and frequently uses Górale dialect in his preaches even outside of the region. He is Kaplan of the Górale Association.
Charming regionally styled houses, Górale traditional garment, original regional music of Kamesznica impressed the participants. All remember the visit to Skoczów and a Holy Mass at the top of the mountain there, with blowing wind. The atmosphere of the mountain Tabor.
Then there was a parade through the main street of the village and whole-night wedding reception, with Górale musicians, recalling the splendid non-alcoholic weddings of the participants.
The next day everybody was speaking about "the next time". And indeed they met again next year in Kamesznica. It was immediately obvious that this event speaks out of the deepest layer of Polish soul. Whoever knows the Poles, knows that they love liberty, freedom, independence. So they accepted easily Christian faith one thousand years ago because Christ came to bring us the liberty of God’s children. The very same Christ warned not to drink with drunkards . Alcohol is on the other hand a symbol of dependence, a contradiction of independence. So a non-alcoholic wedding reception is both the highest expression of Polish love and longing for liberty and of Christian faith.
Therefore it was time to go out from this unusual village where 90% of weddings are non-alcoholic ones, and to spread the light of Christianity all over Poland ... . The enthusiastic mission didn’t remain without fruits. Today what is unimaginable in other European countries, became a standard in Poland: whoever wants to have an extraordinary, splendid, excellent wedding joy and fun for the bride, groom and the guests, organizes a high-society wedding, that is a non-alcoholic wedding.
Zamość - the capital of the Zamojszczyzna-region - is also the capital of the Diocese of Zamość-Lubaczów. A unique architecture of the uban area brought this city the titles of "Pearl of the Renaissance", "City of Arcades" and "Padua of the North". The city has about 60,000 inhabitants.
"It is impossible to forget Zamość, where we could participate in the marriage ceremony and non-alcoholic wedding reception for about 300 people." - as one of the participants stated.
A unique symbol for our times was the question of the priest: "Do you want to adopt and raise in Catholic faith offsprings whom God wants you to bestow ."
Children are a gift, a gift that God can give or not to give, rather than what is "right", you can "demand" nor thing you can buy, and if you get bored, throw out the trash. But if God will give, then you have to accept this gift, and not to "plan" it. Have to accept that what God deems most appropriate, whether by birth or by adoption. And finally, a child is not reward, but the task. The task of Catholic education. Children. Not one, not two, but all that God gives us.
Oh, how cruelly did plain violation of God's law affect children and their parents in Zamojszczyzna. Torn from their family homes they generally did not come back to them, died of hunger, deseases and cruelty. This fate was imposed by the beer-loving country, the Germany.
Wedding of the Weddings is a sign of hope for the new era of Zamosc, where the family has a right to be together, have the right to sobriety.
Wedding of the Weddings visited the spiritual capital of Poland.
Częstochowa is a city under the loving care of Our Lady of Częstochowa, surrounding the national shrine of Jasna Góra. The capital city and also the capital of the archdiocese recently. The city is situated on the Warta River, close to Krakow-Czestochowa Upland and Upland Woźnicko-Wielun, with more than 200,000 inhabitants.
Rev. Archbishop Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński, the Primate of Poland, Archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw proclaimed on 26.08.1956 in Jasna Góra, Vows of the Polish Nation, including the one of defending our houses from the floods of alcohol. While himself imprisoned, he insisted on the liberty of the Nation.
Since 1982, the nationwide sobriety pastoral pilgrimage comes here each year.
And also we arrived to the Mother of God to say that we remember these Vows and turn them into the content of our daily lives.
The fifth meeting was a two-part event - in Rome and Stary Sącz. Stary Sącz (called also (called Bryjowo) is a city of about 9,000 residents in the Małopolska province (formerly nowosądecki voivodship), which was chartered as early as the thirteenth century. It lies on the flat bottom of the Sadecka Valley, at the confluence of the Dunajec and Poprad rivers at an altitude of 320 m above sea level. The local monastery was founded by Princess Kinga, wife of Boleslaw the Chaste.
This place was visited by the Pope John Paul II who canonized a saint in the celebrated Kinga on 16 June 1999 Mass. An altar built for this occasion can be still seen there. Participants of the Wedding of the Weddings attended this Mass, located in a special section close to the altar.
But first, Wedding of the Weddings was in Rome - the ancient capital of Christianity. The monumental basilica St. Peter the Apostle, and the doors of the Apostolic Palace. Place of majestic beauty, but hiding memory of martyrdom of many Christians. The visit to Rome had a culmination in terms of the most beautiful audience with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
The dream of every Pole is a meeting with the Holy Father. This dream was also in our hearts. But this was next to unreal ... How big surprise came over us when all of a sudden, thanks to Fr. Władysław we could go to Rome. It was the Feast of the Annunciation 25 March 1999. Later, Palm Sunday 28 March and solemn Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica. Peter. Everyone dreamed of, but no one dared to speak out ... Will you succeed?
Father Wladyslaw disappeared, after a long wait for such a simple gesture he reached into the inside pocket of his jacket and said, "I have"! There were tickets for a private audience ... In the eyes pearls of tears .. . Feelings, which no one seems to be able to describe.
The Holy Father was consolidating the idea of Wedding of the weddings with all its teaching and contact with us - after all V "Wedding of the Weddings" was at the Vatican, with the extension by the papal pilgrimage to the Stary Sącz, where we have a special sector close to Human Liberation Crussaide, which came from Kopia Górka and from whole Poland.
Wedding of the Weddings was hosted by the historical capital of Poland in 2000.
We were invited by the Fr. Monsignor Franciszek Kołacz, the provost of the St. Joseph Parish in the Podgórze district of Kraków.
The meeting was attended by about 50 couples from all corners of Poland, including Podhale, Bialystok, Koszęcin, Jelenia Góra, Jastrzębia, Sądecczyzna. Every day a Holy Mass was celebrated and conferences were held. On Saturday night, the eve of the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord during the Holy Mass, presided over by Bishop John Szkodoń, the couple renewed their wedding vows. Bishop also spent a special blessing. During the Mass, the highland music ensamble "Grojcowianie" from the Żywiec region was playing and singing. The ensamble played also during the wedding reception afterwards. Many attendees presented testimonies of everyday life, full of joy, faith, serenity, that will make us look to the future with confidence that we chose the right path of life.
National Polish Meeting of Couples that Had Nonalcoholic Weddings was held in Bialystok in 2001. The participants could breath the atmosphere of this beautiful and friendly city and its surroundings in the north eastern corner of Poland. They found shelter in a high school dormitory. Each day a small sightseeing tour was attended by them. We have seen the Święta Woda sanctuary, the palace and gardens of Branicki family, the historical museum and several churches, including the cathedral. A high mountain folk group played the gorale music and demonstrated their dances. On another day several international folk groups, including one from Africa made performances. We visited the local zoo and went by busses to the Bialowieza National Park to see a nature museum and a zoological garden with some animals living in the local wild forests.
The key event of the meeting is the wedding anniversary service in the church, followed by the wedding (anniversary) reception. Hot meals and hot music of the last fifty years kept the atmosphere of a dancing party till midnight. During breaks gorale dance-and-sing ensemble presented mountaineer sobriety culture.
We were guests of the City Council and the City President attended the reception. The reason for this support of the meeting on the side of Bialystok city was a very sad incident. Some time earlier a drunk driver killed more than a dozen of people walking on a pavement. The city council took radical steps in order to prevent such tragedies in the future. Therefore they supported all the initiatives promoting sober lifestyle. President's daughter even had an a nonalcoholic wedding reception.
On the last day of the meeting we were invited to the Branicki palace and the archbishop of Bialystok together with the city president shook the hands of the participants and gave them participation diplomas. The Pope John Paul the Second sent a telegram to the participants.
We all enjoyed the extraordinary humor and spiritual zeal of Father Wladyslaw Zazel, who was the soul of the meeting. He engages himself in promoting nonalcoholic weddings by traveling all over the country to bless the couples and also to help them to convince their parents and relatives to attend such weddings. But also he promotes the gorale culture. He frequently preaches in gorale dialect and takes with him various gorale folks groups to the meetings of Wedding of the Weddings.
We thank to the archbishop of Białystok, local and regional authorities, lecturers, preachers, artists, governmental and non-governmental organisations and volunteers for support for this event.
Wedding of the Wedding is a time of spiritual renewal. Daily Holy Masses and other occasions to pray are used extensively.
It has to be pointed out that though Poland is currently the country with the lowest alcohol consumption in Europe, it was not always so.
Over dozens of years, over centuries we have witnessed a fierce struggle between the forces of the dark and those of Catholic faith. The beginning of the 20th century was an important turning point of stronger growth in faith that led in 1938 to the lowest ever alcohol consumption in Poland (above 0.7 l per head).
Unfortunate time of world war two during which numerous religious leaders of the abstinent movement were cruelly murdered meant a dramatic drawback in this positive development. Nevertheless over decades courageous priests and friars rebuilt the morality of the Nation to the extent that non-alcoholic wedding receptions started spreading.
When looking back at these developments it becomes obvious that these positive trends would not be possible without God’s Providence.
Therefore each Wedding of the Weddings is always a time of not only excellent entertainment, of dancing, singing, talking, sightseeing, but also a time to say God “Thank you very much, for the graces in my life, for my wonderful wife / husband, for the gift of the children”. Holy Masses, rosaries, Stations of the Cross devotion, and other prayers are integral part of the meetings.
Ludźmierz is a small but beatiful village in south eastern Poland in the county of Nowy Targ, some 85 km south from Kraków. It is said that Ludźmierz is the oldest village in Podhale. It is an important sanctuary of Our Lady of Podhale. The building of the church was erected by 1238.
On June 7, 1997, Ludźmierz hosted Pope John Paul II, where he said the rosary in the sanctuary's Rosary Garden.
The four day long celebrations of the 2003 Wedding of the Weddings were held in the local House of Podhalans, which is hosting a primary school and is equipped with a large conference room (visible in the photography).
But it was not the only place we visited during that event. We had a Holy Mass in the Krzeptówki Sanctuary in Zakopane where also the wedding reception was hosted. we took part in a raft excursion along the Dunajec river, visited the Nidzica castle and the nail-free wooden church of Dębne where Fr. Zązel was baptized.
The meeting was attended also by two bishops: Bishop Stefanek, who held a conference for us and celebrated the Mass in Krzeptówki on Saturday and the Archbishof Franciszek Cardinal Macharski of Kraków on Sunday, who celebrated the Mass in Ludźmierz sanctuary and attended a conference organized by the local public authorities where also several Members of Parliament held speeches.
Several lectures were given by local sobriety activists.
The oldest participating couple married 50 years ago. The tradition of non-alcoholic wedding is that long. Attendees came not only from various corners of Poland, but also from France and Germany.
A great number of children among the participants is a special feature of Wedding of the Weddings.
First of all because the participants have more children than the country average. An abstinent family of five persons can have one more child than neighbors with same income without any decrease in the standard of living.
Then it is always risky to take children to a typical wedding, whereas a nonalcoholic wedding reception is an occasion where you can take children without any fear, and additionally the children are specially cared for during the meetings.
2004 the Wedding of the Weddings was welcome in Warszawa. These were real days of joy, satisfaction and at the same time a splendid entertainment. We were guests at Polish Parliament and held a conference in the Parliament’s building, in the May 3rd Constitution Hall. We have visited the summer residence of Polish Kings in Wilanów.
Several sessions and lectures as well as a concert were held in the highest building of Warszawa – the Palace of Culture and Science, erected in the time of Stalinism. In one of the biggest halls there (the President Starzyński Hall) we had later the grand reception of the Wedding of the Weddings, with about 700 participants. Several TV and radio stations came to get some interviews with participants. Folk music and dance ensembles from high mountains were brought by Father Zązel. They invited young men to dance together with them the “zbójnicki” dance, but only two of them were capable to dance to the end. The “zbójnicki” is really a challenge with its speed and force required. At midnight there was a teleconference with Katowice, where by that time a non-alcoholic wedding reception was celebrated. This was one of the landmarks pointing the changes that are coming about in Poland after the dreadful era of socialism
The Wedding of the Weddings daily Masses were read by bishops from various parts of Poland: from Drohiczyn, Łowicz and of course Warszawa. A number of priests from Warszawa and other parts of Poland, including Białystok accompanied us every day. We are really thankful to them, as well as to the national authorities, especially the engaged MPs, as well as the authorities of the city of Warszawa, with the City President Kaczyński, who sponsored the meeting.
The 10th Wedding of the Weddings was an occasion to prepare a book about non-alcoholic weddings in Poland. Over a dozen couples contributed painting a picture of the past.
So it turned out that always a non-alcoholic reception was an act of courage. In the 1950ies such a wedding was impossible. Stalin was said to consider each glass of vodka as a next step towards socialism. This was a common saying in that time (though no verification was possible). So an abstinent was a state enemy (see the case of Pater Blachnicki, arrested for starting an abstinent society). In the 1960ies and 1970ies it was not that bad, but abstinents were treated as suspicious guys. In the 1980ies the state policy towards drinking changed (no more drinking at work place for example), but on the other hand a non-alcoholic wedding reception was a luxury. Nothing but vodka was easy to purchase, so a reception without alcohol was expensive both in terms of money and human effort. In the 1990ies it was for the first time possible to talk about non-alcoholic wedding in public. But the restaurant owners were even stronger opposing non-alcoholic receptions, because in the time of capitalist economy there was no cheap profit on non-alcoholic food and drink. This didn't change in the recent years.
Still we can be proud of the fact that people are starting to resist the pro-alcohol propaganda. The consumption of alcohol dropped in Poland to the lowest level in Europe (British and Germans drink 50% more than Poles). So we had really a fine occasion to celebrate and cheer.
And last not least it was time to say “thank you” to Father Zązel, who initialed this series of meetings and was taking care of the participants, contributing with his great speeches, unprecedented sense of humor and strong faith that he passes to us and our children.
A couple from Germany came to Poland with their families to have a non-alcoholic wedding reception. In Germany it would have not be imaginable to have a reception like this. So we danced jointly, the participants of the Wedding of the Weddings and the non-alcoholic wedding guests.
This was by the way the longest ever Wedding of the Weddings - it lasted over a week. First we visited a tiny village of Gietrzwałd, inhabited by some 1,000 people. But for years it is a place where to pilgrims stream day and night. It was the place of the apparitions of Our Lady in 1877. The Holy Mother appeared for 180 consecutive days calling for rosary and sobriety as conditions for blessing to Poland.
We stayed there for a couple of days praying on the Stations of the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross, distributed of the beautiful countryside.
Then we went on a tour through the countryside, visiting a museum of olsztynian village, the place of the famous Battle of Grunwald (1410, where Polish Army defeated and united Crossrider and Western Europe Army) and the so-called "green channel" (where tourist ships are transported through meadows separating two lakes).
Finally we came to Olsztyn, a picturous town in North-East Poland, of over 170,000 inhabitants. In the old cathedral we participated in the wedding ceremony of the mentioned couple from Germany and then walked through the streets of the town, lead by the city president, to the urania-hall where the wedding reception was celebrated.
The 2006 meeting of couples that married without alcohol, took place in Wroclaw. Wroclaw is a big city in the south west of Poland, having a long history of development and declines. The organizers of the meeting could clearly see how spreading of the culture of sobriety was needed in the town. They were unable to hire a bus at any rent-a-bus service because ... All the available drivers had so called three day run or five day run (a stage of alcoholism). As a last resort they took the driver license training bus with the instructor.
We lived in student dormitories of the famous Wroclaw University of Technology. We had breakfasts, lunches and suppers at university restaurant and the wedding reception took place at professors' restaurant there.
The children (there were over 80 of them) had a guided tour through the wonderful Wroclaw Zoo. The adults met the representatives of the city council at one of university faculties. Several reporters from local press were present there also.
We had the chance to see the Panorama Raclawicka. It is an immense painting put together in a circle so that the viewer has the impression to be in the middle of a large battle field. The depicted Battle of Raclawice was one of the few victories of the 18th century Poland fighting against the invaders that came to occupy its territory forever, and managed to rule it for the next 123 years. But the battle of Raclawice demonstrated that the invaders can be defeated in the future. It also demonstrated that the peasants are prominent carrier of the spirit of Polish Nation. Ancestors of some of the participants of the Wedding of the Weddings were among the depicted Polish peasants.
The wedding anniversary church service was celebrated in the Wroclaw achicathedral by the local bishop. In his sermon he stressed that he is abstinent himself. He pointed at the importance of the witness of the present couples because the nonalcoholic wedding is the intrinsically Christian wedding.
After the service the participants marched through the old town following a big gorale orchestra that later played for us during the wedding reception.
The wedding reception was not only a time of joy, dancing, games for children, but also a time for ripening of a great idea, that of founding the Wedding of the Weddings Association for promotion of nonalcoholic weddings, which became reality on the next day with the foundation act signed by the vast majority of participants.
Father Zazel who initiated the meetings, agreed only to become the vice-president of the Association, leaving the chair of the president to a representative of the couples.
So one of the organizers of a former meting was elected together with his wife. Now a long lasting procedure of registration had to be started, which was to be completed in ten month. In Poland we have a relict of the communism that there can exist no private society of more than 15 members. Any association needs to be approved by a court , entered into a nation wide registry together with names of the governing board (president, vice-president etc.)
The 2006 meeting ended in the Chapel of Skulls where it began. The chapel is devoted to the six victims of Katyn the skulls of whom were found in the Wroclaw University medical archive many years after world war two. Many memories of the bloody and cruel war were recalled in those days.
We thank to bishops of Wrocław, local and regional authorities, lecturers, preachers, artists, governmental and non-governmental organisations and volunteers for support for this event.
Under the motto "Joy in Sobriety" the Bydgoszcz National Meeting "Wedding of the Weddings" took place, organized by the Association Wedding of the Weddings in close cooperation with the National Marriage Pairing Center "Oratory". The joint meeting was attended by by about 200 adults and about 50 children. There were couples who had a non-alcoholic weddings, with children, and relatives (mostly Polish, but one couple from France and one from Germany), those seeking spouses affiliated to the Oratory, and others, in whose hearts is the idea of non-alcoholic weddings.
The program was attended by about 90 members of regional folk groups, about 50 volunteers and 80 invited guests, including invited representatives of the government, local authorities, non-governmental organizations interested in the propagation of sobriety. Wedding ball was attended by about 400 people.
On Saturday, the major day of the event, children and youngsters went to Torun, to visit the Planetarium, Orbitarium, and bake gingerbread in the Live Gingerbread Museum.
The adults were invited in that time to a lecture "Consider your own calling again - Marriage as a way to salvation". Dr. Mieczyslaw Guzewicz stressed the importance of marriage and its proper placing in the value hierarchy: and its care, talked about the proper hierarchy of values. He spoke about the creation of marriage by God as the crowning work of creation. He pointed to various risks of marriage in the modern world, from massive external aggression to the neglect of the spouses to each other. He pointed also to the effective methods to protect the institution of marriage in the modern world - through the care of for one's own marriage.
In the evening, Rev. Bishop John Tyrawa celebrated at the Cathedral the Holy Mass for participants. In his surmon, he pointed to the spouses, which had non-alcoholic weddings as a sign given by God to other married couples to recognize their ultimate goal - eternal salvation. We recited special prayers at the famous picture of Our Lady of Beautiful Love.
After Mass, participants went to Łuczniczka Hall, on the way laying down flowers at the monument to the Polish victims of world war two. At about 8.00 pm Ball "Wedding Wesel - the joy of sobriety" commenced. It lasted until 4:00 in the morning, when the musicians were packing instruments and youngsters did not want to leave the dance floor. The live music was delivered by the combined bands Top Dog Band and Palace Quartet.
A pair of professional dancers and a highlander dance team gave excellent performances
(including featuring dances with sparking axes).
Tarnów was hosting Wedding of the Weddings in 2008. Tarnów is an exciting town in the south east of Poland.
The meeting in Tarnów was concentrated around the personality of the Blessed Karolina Kózkówna, who died while defending her virginity. The majority of spiritual and cultural events took place in Karolina Sanctuary and church in Tarnów. We also visited a sanctuary devoted to her in Zabawa parish where she lived and died.
The wedding anniversary Holy Mass was read by the local bishop in the Tarnów cathedral. Later we were invited by the city president and the provincional governor of Maloposka to the residence of the latter to a session devoted to the regional culture and economy.
The wedding reception of the meeting was preceded by the March of Sobriety, an annual local event, that was combined with the Wedding of the Weddings this year. The march started at the Karolina sanctuary in Tarnów and ended in nearby village of Skrzeszow. We were welcome there by the head of the village self-government accompanied by the firemen orchestra. The reception itself was prepared in the village school. Folk dance group and singers presented the local culture and Tarnów city band played hits of fifties to nineties.
We had also an occasion to taste the delicious local food, made after traditional recipes.
The reception started with the traditional Polish aristocratic dance of polonaise. The leading pairs were representative of provincional and local governments.
The meeting was ended on Sunday with presenting participation diplomas to the attendees.
Both the opening and the closing ceremonies were chaired by Father Zazel, who initiated the meetings.
During the opening ceremony all the couples had to present themselves together with their children and to tell about their nonalcoholic wedding reception. It turned out that in many cases it was Father Zazel who supported the young people in their debates with parents on the issue and then was giving them the sacrament of matrimony. Father Zazel was celebrating the Holy Masses for us each day.
We thank to bishops of Tarnów, local and regional authorities, lecturers, preachers, artists, governmental and non-governmental organisations and volunteers for support for this event.
Wedding of the Wedding in Łomża was the major socio-economic and political event in the Kurpie region in summer of 2009. It was covered by the main media of the region (radio, press, television, internet portals), and also by some national news agencies. (see some references)
It was a national meeting, but with an international accent (a couple from Belarus was among the wedding guests).
Strong political statements were made by the local authorities representatives (the city president, city council president, an MP from Łomża, two bishops of Łomża) at the very beginning of the meeting in the City Council building of Łomża, in favour of basic civic liberties and human rights, like the right to live in sobriety, right to have sober parents, right to have sober teachers, right to live in a non-alcoholic information space, right to live in a sober social space, to have non-alcoholic wedding receptions etc. ,
The meeting itself was an active engagement of citizens, that had non-alcoholic weddings, to promote their rights and liberties. At their own expense, they come each year for a few days together to create a sober social space, free from mobbing by the narco-business, for themselves and their children. They demonstrate that dancing, singing, discussing, visiting museums, attending concerts etc. without alcohol is possible and in fact is a much greater joy than analogous events with alcohol. And they enjoy the celebrations themselves. They find friends everywhere that support their ideas and help extensively with the preparation of the meetings. This year they got great help on the site of Sobriety Brotherhood of Łomża, of the City Council, of the Bishops of Łomża and numerous provosts of Łomża parishes.
The days spent together were really great. Numerous folk music ensembles volunteered to come to perform for the meeting attendees, including ones from Myszyniec, Kadzidło, the historical music and dance group “Szlachta”. Also modern music youth groups like eMDeK Gloriosa Trinita played music and sang for the meeting participants.
We were pleased to visit an open air museum of historical Kurpian villages, with wooden houses arranged after customs a hundred of years ago. We could not only enjoy the material folk art, but listen to a life performance of folk musicians and were explained by the guide how the people lived and worked and prayed in the region, what habits they had and some peculiarities of the local dialect were explained to us. So for example the beer is called “something for dogs”. This open air museum of Polish village was the oldest one in Poland. We were captured not only by the hand-crafted clothes, boxes, plates tools etc., but also by the beauty of the landscape at the Narew river where the museum was located.
On another day, there was a visit to the Museum of Nature and a dinner in the open air in a park next to the museum. A folk dance and music group presented again the culture of the region. The oldest dancer and a vigorous one by the way was a 76 old man who then sang a song about chasing after own youth time that ran away. The museum was devoted to the local fauna and flora of the Biebrza and Narew rivers. But it had also a historical accent. The house belonged earlier to the famous family of Lutoslawski. Here three renown members of the family lived: a musician, a philosopher and the creator of the scout movement in Poland. They were close friends of the splendid Polish personality, who restored the Polish independence in 1918.
Four lectures with discussion on different topics were held. The lectures were given among others by professors of the Łomża Spiritual University. The topics included moral issues of the marriage, the life of bishop Bruno from Querfurt and its historical background, new kinds of addictions and the role of the laymen in the Catholic Church. Prof. Dr. Rev. Jan Pieńkosz drew our attention to the close relationship between keeping moral standards and happiness in the marriage. Any departures here from the teaching of Church leads directly to unnecessary suffering and sadness. His Magnificence Dr. Wojciech Nowacki stressed the need for a proper balance between the activity of clergy and laymen in the Church. While the task of the clergy is to keep the sound teaching of the Church alive, the laymen have to engage in bringing the message of Gospel to the whole society. Dr. protonotary apostolic Jan Sołowianiuk explained the significance of life and missionary activity of Saint Bruno. While himself a German, he supported Polish king in seeking peaceful relationships with the German empire and insisted on the German Emperor Heinrich the Second to follow the Christian principles of peaceful coexistence of nations. Saint Bruno managed to convince many pagans, that Christian missionaries do not seek their wealth but their salvation.
On late Friday evening the participants prayed in the streets of Łomża on the Way of Cross. The bishop of Łomża attended the prayers.
Speakers and preachers at the meeting drew attention to the economical and social importance of non-alcoholic weddings. Bishop Stefanek elaborated it in the context of proper understanding the term "love". Bishop Bronakowski pointed at the creation of good conditions for evolvement of the personalities of the children. The MP Kołakowski concentrated on the valuable human resources that grow in the non-alcoholic families.
On Saturday evening a wedding anniversary Holy Mass was celebrated in the Łomża cathedral, with two bishops present. The couples renewed their wedding oaths and the bishop blessed each couple separately. The couples had then an occasion to pray in the chapel of Our Lady of Beautiful Love. The Mass was finished with the wedding march played by the organist.
After the Holy Mass, the Wedding cortege, headed by the bishops and local authority representatives, marched through the streets of Łomża old town to the wedding reception hall where they danced, talked and enjoyed the excellent local food till 4 o’clock in the morning. At the beginning, the historical dance group "Szlachta" showed old-fashioned Polish dance polonaise. After their performance all participants joined the polonaise, which was followed by a waltzer. Several folk culture groups performed showing villager habits and customs related to wedding ceremonies in the Kurpie region of Poland. A music band "Los Abstinentos" played and sang Latin-American hits. A Spiritual University band played hits of 1950ties to 1990ties and beyond. So there was occasion for dancing for older and younger couples as well as by their children. there was space to get accustomed with music of various generations. The people that got tired, sat down in the dining hall and talked there and sang pop songs of their childhood.
We thank to bishops of Łomża, the clergy, local and regional authorities, the Saint Maximilian Sobriety Brotherhood of Łomża, lecturers, preachers, artists, governmental and non-governmental organisations and volunteers for support for this event.
The Wedding of the Weddings 2010 took place in Miejsce Piastowe, in the south-eastern corner of Poland.
Miejsce Piastowe is not only a charming place, with mountain skyline, forests and green fields. It is also attractive spiritually. The name of this village is a clever game of meanings of the words. On the one hand it means the “Place of Care”, and on the other “the Place of first Polish Royal Dynasty”.
The name was invented by the Blessed Father Bronisław Markiewicz. Blessed Bronisław created here a real place of care for orphan, neglected and later poor children (more precisely boys, as co-education was not common in that time). He cared for them, together with the other monks from the monastery founded there, not only by providing with shelter and clothes, but also with education. He educated young people along three directions: for physical work, mental work and spiritual work. Soon not only the youngsters profited from the efforts of Father Bronisław. The profoundly educated craftsmen provided the local community and the province with diverse hand-craft services that were urgently needed and badly lacking in this area. Many boys got sufficiently ripe for university education. All of them along with the local community profited from the religious education. It was a time of grieve poverty. The reason for it was the moral disorder of that time: laziness, heavy drinking, non-marital sex etc. But Blessed Bronisław helped the community to grow into prosperity setting an example not only for Poland. He achieved this improvement in living conditions by showing the merits of keeping God’s commandments for this and future life. The pupils of Father Bronisław learned to work hard, to entertain with playing chess, checkers, reading books, dancing. And, what was most important of all, to live self-constrained, not spending money beyond income, not wasting time nor other resources, not destroying other people’s life etc. The deep religious motivation was the driving force for them.
But the girls were also not ignored. The female monastery of Miesce Piastowe, lead by Mother Anna Kaworek, cared for them in an analogous way, following the example of Father Bronisław.
These famous personalities of the last century provided inspiration for participants of this year Wedding of the Weddings.
Special courses of Good Entertainment for children of the participants were organized by the monks from the Miejsce Piastowe Monastery and Dr. Nogaj from the University of Philosophy and Education "Ignatianum" in Kraków, Poland.
The famous theologian and philosopher Rev. Knabit gave an excellent lecture on Bernadine spirituality, favouring strongly interleaved prayer, creative work, respect for the other human beings and optimism rooted in the faith in God.
The renown human rights activist, Dr. Zięba from the Kraków University of Technology explained the major points in favour of protection of human life from the conception to natural death speaking in the language of engineers and computer scientists: exposing concrete numbers, dates and facts that perfectly denied all the claims of protagonists of abortion. It is not possible to draw correct conclusions if the data were wrong. Therefore he insisted on collecting data in a scientifically rigorous way.
The major Polish expert on the issues of theological underpinning of sobriety, Rev. Zązel, gave several speeches on various aspects of sober life style - not only on its advantages for an individual human being, but also for the closest family and friends, as well as the whole society. Rev. Zązel was the first provost that managed to convince the vast majority of his parishioners in Kamesznica to have non-alcoholic wedding receptions.
The public debates were driven by the insight of Blessed Bronisław that "The state the Nation tomorrow is determined by our effort to bring up youngsters today".
Folk artists and pop music groups cared for unprecedented entertainment. Six folk ensembles and a local orchestra showed the diversity not only of the local folk music, but also dances and clothes.
Six bishops from Poland and abroad accepted invitation as honorary guests of the meeting. The Archbishop Tkacz came from Slovakia. The Archbishop Michalik is the President of the Polish Bishop Conference and at the same time the archbishop of the local diocese of Przemyśl. Bishop Szal came also from Przemyśl. Bishop Górny represented the neighbouring diocese of Rzeszów. Bishop Stefanek, member of the Papal commission on Family, arrived from Łomża. The diocese of Łowicz was represented by the Bishop Zawitkowski, the famous poet and bishop in one person. During a Pontifical Mass they blessed each couple and each family separately. They gave also impressive speeches. Bishop Górny and Bishop Zawitkowski stressed that the couples that had non-alcoholic wedding receptions are currently the only hope for Poland and Europe, and the world. The President of Polish Bishop Conference spoke about the endangered love. The love is manipulated and alienated by a massive offensive attack and therefore the love is dying, and with it the Poland is dying out. Bishop Stefanek criticized the relativism and reductionism that claim that human beings are too stupid to acquire knowledge about the surrounding world. Bishop Szal drew our attention to the attempt of enslaving the people by pushing them into never ending chase for wealth, and pleasures that end up in destroying marriages and capturing into alcoholism. Whereas the real happiness is not related to wealth, but to a family having a good relation to God and his commandments.
Pilgrimages to sanctuaries of great Polish saints: Saint Jan from Dukla, Saint bishop Sebastian Pelczar, Blessed Bronisław Markiewicz and God's Servant Anna Kaworek strengthened the spiritual foundations of the meeting.
And of course, the traditional non-alcoholic wedding reception was held. The grand polonaise started as usually the reception. Life music and professional entertainers created a unique atmosphere. Local cuisine of Podkarpacie region surely pleased every gourmet. The romantic dance with candles was a great joy both for young boys and girls and the married couples of all ages. The non-alcoholic wedding cake at midnight and the greeting wedding bread were a fun both for stomach and the mind.
the wedding reception was attended also by representatives of local authorities who also gave speeches to us in the preceding days presenting the history of the region, the tourist attractions and the overall trends in development and investments in the region.
The four days of the meeting set again an example how a wedding may be organized. Depending on available time and resources one can follow some or many of the ideas of entertainment for wedding guests of all ages. Even the aristocrats of ancient Poland would be proud if they could organize a wedding like this.
we thank all that contributed to this great event.
In which program one can find over 50 hours of good news from Poland and about Poland? In the program of the 17th Polish National Meeting of Couples Who Had Non-Alcoholic Wedding Celebrations Wedding of the Weddings 2011 Radom.
The first good news: The Poles amuse themselves great without alcohol in all regions Poland. It is not surprising, when instead of losing money on alcohol, one allocates it to a generous pay to the orchestra or the tables filled with excellent dishes and (non-alcoholic) drinks. And Wedding Radom 2011 is not only a place where couples reported on their wonderful non-alcoholic wedding receptions, but were also dancing, praying, visiting the city and the open air museum of village, and many other attractions.
Briefly speaking, a wedding reception, which even the crowned rulers can not boast.
The hours spent in Radom will be well-remembered by the participants. Thanks to the organizers.
The annual convention of couples that had non-alcoholic wedding receptions “ Wedding of the Wedding” grew over years to an acknowledged, most significant unofficial meeting of distinguished intellectuals. Who deserves more to be called an “intellectual” than those that use their intellect on daily basis, living in a permanent sobriety? Who deserves more to be called rational than those strongly believing in God and following His Commandments? Who deserves more to be called distinguished intellectuals than those who celebrate their weddings without alcohol, who not only are abstinents themselves but also promote the sobriety of their relatives and friends at their wedding, who grow in this way to outstanding leaders of local communities?
The importance of the meeting is underlined by the presence of bishops at the meetings. While in Poland one attending bishop makes an event to a prominent one, the Wedding of the Weddings in Radom was honoured by four attending bishops that celebrated Holy Masses every day of the meeting.
The convention itself has the form of a four-day long demo wedding celebration, with wedding reception at its heart, preceded by blessing by the Bishop of Radom of all participating couples (visible on the photo above), but also accompanied by numerous cultural events. One can hardly imagine a wedding with more splendor than a one presented at the Wedding of the Weddings.
So two university professors gave lectures on the essentials for happy marriage and family life. Less formally, but vividly a musician was talking about designing good inter-human relations. Really lessons that a bride and groom should attend right before they marry.
Two folk dance ensembles presented the regional culture. A Gospel music group sang on another evening. A high mountain music group played at the wedding reception.
We had also an occasion to visit an open air village museum where the art of house building, wind mill engineering, pottery production etc. were presented. We were impressed by “villager’s marble”, that looked really like marble of best quality, but was made of wood. It was created specially for the local wooden church that is now a very attractive place for wedding ceremonies.
As impressive as the visit to the village museum was the guided tour through the city of Radom. We learned how the fate of Poland was shared by Radom and how it contributed to the best pieces of Poland’s history.
And of course deep spiritual life was accompanying each day of the meeting. The spirituality is the foundation for the development of human intellect. As already mentioned, each day we attended a Holy Mass. There were other occasion for prayers, like cross-way etc.
There was much time to share the life experience among the participants, including interesting stories how a couple came to a decision on a non-alcoholic wedding and what was the impact on their life, the lives of their elatives and friends. The good example causes that already one out of ten wedding receptions is celebrated without alcohol, and there is a general tendency to limit the alcohol consumption at Polish weddings.
And last not least there was of course a traditional Polish wedding reception, with dancing, conversations, games, a performance of an artist that mimicked the way some public persons speak and behave. The dancing lasted till three o’clock in the morning, when the D.J. said he wanted to go to sleep. He was really surprised that at a non-alcoholic wedding party the people dance that long.
The participants of the meeting covered their participation expenses by themselves. But we had a number of supporting sponsors and donators that contributed much to the splendor of the whole event. So first of all the city council that welcomed us on the first day, the bishops of Radom that allowed to hold the convention in the priest seminar. Many food producers and other companies from Radom and neighborhood contributed either financially or with their products.
A large number of volunteers help the Coordinators of the event in organizational matters. We want to extend our thanks to all of them and are grateful for the fine time in Radom.
To learn more about the event series, read the book
"Wedding of the Weddings", edited by Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, John McBrewster, 96 pages, alpha/Betascript Publishing (February 2011), ISBN-10: 6134353361, ISBN-13: 978-6134353366,
We thank all the couples that celebrated their wedding without alcohol, for attending the 18th Polish National Meeting "Wedding of the Weddings" (in Polish "Wesele Wesel") in Kraków (Poland) on 2.8.-5.8.2012.
The Royal Capital City of Kraków, as the town is called today, was a formal capital of Poland in 1296 - 1795. Even when the kings resided in Warszawa, the crowning ceremony was held here.
The beautiful town lying on the major Polish river Wisła (Vistula) is known for a remarkable number of historical monuments that survived the turbulent Polish history. Just to mention the Royal castle of Wawel, with the famous Wawel cathedral, with graves of many Polish kings, where great personalities are buried till the present day. You can find here a multitude of charming churches carrying to the present day the spiritual treasures of Catholic faith and memories of extraordinary Saints from the Kraków area. Also churches built today deserve a visit. Especially the Łagewniki basilica that reminds us of God's mercy, thanks to the memorials of Saint Faustyna Kowalska.
One should say that the proper name of the city should be "the Abstinent Capital City of Kraków" because it has one distinctive feature among all the biggest cities of Poland. As a recent (2011) opinion pole demonstrated, inhabitants of Kraków differ significantly of those in other big cities in Poland. 16% of Kraków population acknowledge being abstinents from alcohol. They prefer instead walking and family entertainment.
Should this result be surprising? Not at all. Kraków has a long tradition of famous residents that were abstinents.
Over six hundreds years ago the great Polish King and abstinent Władyslaw Jagiełło lived here. He was in his time famous for drinking water and goat milk. He was also the driving force behind the famous Grunwald wine party. The USA has its Boston tea party. A similar role plays the Grunwald wine party. Though there is a difference, because the Boston tea party in fact started a war and the Grunwald wine party was the end of one. The battle of Grunwald of 1410 was one of the biggest battles of Middle Ages in Europe. Two worlds gathered at opposite sides of the battlefield: the Cross Riders supported by armed forced from all over the Western Europe and on the other side the forces of Polish Kingdom with allied states. The total victory of Polish military changed the history of Europe. After the battle Polish forces entered the military camp of the enemy. Germans prepared there large numbers of chains for Polish captives. These were used to chain the Germans. Also large amounts of wine were brought by them to celebrate the envisaged victory. Polish king ordered the wine to be poured into the lake nearby. The smell of sulfur was spreading on the occasion above the lake which was interpreted as a sign of presence of devils. This was the Grunwald wine party.
Two hundred years later the renown preacher Most Reverend Piotr Skarga complained in his preaching in Kraków that Poles were abandoning the long tradition of drinking pure water and switching to beer and wine. He saw in it a danger to the Polish empire. And regrettably as it is, he was right. Two hundred years later there was no Poland any more.
Therefore, after World War One, as Poland regained independence, a large number of abstinence movements emerged.
One of the abstinent groups in Kraków was headed by Karol Wojtyła, who later became the Pope John Paul II. By the way he was a great supporter of non-alcoholic weddings and even offered his Apostolic blessing on such occasions.
Wedding of the Weddings visited already the historical capital of Poland in 2000. A considerable number of couples from this city and its surroundings celebrated their wedding parties without alcohol, just extending the splendid royal tradition of Grunwald wine party to our time.
So a quarter of thounsand people came to the meeting. The largest group of course from Kraków and the vicinity, but attendees from Warszawa, Poznań, Białystok, Przemyśl and other distant cities, towns and villages were present.
The photography above presents the most spectacular part of the meeting, the end of March of Sobriety from Kraków Old Market to the Hill of Wawel. Thousands of tourists visiting Kraków, including English speaking ones, were wondering what is going on. Everybody was asking, what a non-alcoholic wedding reception is. They were shooting photos of this unusual event.
In fact the parade was unusual. A Górale youngster orchestra, clothed in regional Górale costumes, was followed by wedding guests clothed also in colorful regional costumes, Górale and Krakowiacy ones, as well as gentlemen in suits and ladies in long evening dresses. The parade first entered the historical market square in the center of of Old Town and approached the St. Mary Church. After visiting the church and prayers for he well-being of the Nation the parade headed along the Royal Route towards the Royal Castle on the Wawel Hill. In the Royal Cathedral there the Archbishop of Kraków, Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz was reading the Holy Mass. Thereafter he blessed each family separately. After the Mass at the graves of Polish Kings, bishops, presidents and other distinguished leaders the parade returned downhills to the buses to go to the Open Source restaurant (a beautiful name for software engineers) to celebrate the Non-alcoholic Wedding Reception.
At the reception site the participants were welcome by the wedding steward who treated everybody with bread, baked specially for that occasion (large enough to feed everybody, with an inscription "Wedding of the Weddings". Thereafter we had a dinner. After the dinner we were invited to a "family photography". Then the traditional Polish aristocratic dance followed: the Polonaise. Polonaise is a slow dance of Polish origin, in 3/4 time. It is a kind of walking dance where first the pairs queue in a long line that goes then through the floor making diverse "figures". The queue forms a circle, then the circle is split into two. Thereafter both circles are joined to form one circle with fours instead of pairs and so on.
The dancing lasted till 5AM next morning. Waltz, Krakowiak, Belgian and lednicjan dances as well as modern dances were on the agenda.
The Krakowiak is a fast, syncopated Polish dance in duple time from the region of Kraków and Małopolska. From a folk dance it became a popular ballroom dance over time. Not all wedding guests knew this and other dances. But no problem. The wedding dance manager (wodzirej) was instructing and providing training so that everybody could enjoy the party.
The meeting had a world-wide coverage. The events were transmitted live (including the reception) by an internet television station. A couple of newspapers sent their journalists to get interviews with the participants. The usual questions were asked: why non-alcoholic wedding? This question is absolutely wrong. One should rather ask why there are people making alcoholic wedding when the alcohol spoils the taste of food, disturbs dancing and disables conversation.
Of course the non-alcoholic wedding reception was not the only point of the programme. We visited Łagiewniki sanctuaries of God's Mercy and of the Blessed John Paul the Second and well as the church in Mistrzejowice in the Nowa Huta district of Kraków where dozens of years ago a fierce fight of atheists against Polish Catholics took place. We prayed at the graves of two provosts of the church who are now servants of God (candidates for sainthood) due to their martyrdom life.
A couple of very interesting lectures were on the programme too. One was dealing with the matrimonial love as the foundation o well-being of children. A divorce is a more traumatic event for a child than the death of its parents, as the lecturers revealed. Another lecture was devoted to the importance of premarital purity for the happy marriage (it was addressed to the children of the couples). We had also a lecture on the activities of the devil in the present days and on the need for internal healing.
A modern religious music concert was performed for us at the Łagiewniki conference center.
Every day a Hole Mass was celebrated for the participants. In Mistrzejowice by bishop Grzegorz Ryś, in Łagiewniki by priest Mirosław Żak, in Wawel by the Cardinal Dziwisz and again in Mistrzejowice by the prelate Władyslaw Zązel. Different aspects of the importance of non-alcoholic weddings were stressed in their preaches. On the one hand it is bringing the message of Evangelium close to the daily life. Another is a kind of a rescue operation, an arch to save at least part of the people from the foods of alcohol. Still another issue is to save the institution of marriage in a time when it becomes obvious that without protecting it the society turns into a band of criminals. Last not least it is to save the Church.
We are deeply thankful to all those that contributed to that great festivity that enabled us to spend four joyful days and to learn so much for our future life.
Wieleń Zaobrzański is a small village on the bank of Marian Lake in western Poland. It lies between Poznań in the east and Świebodzin in the west, Wolsztyn in the north and Leszno in the south. It is crossed by the Convallarian kayak waterway (so named after an island that is covered with countless Convallarias). Cyclists are here to be found on numerous bike paths that travel through the beautiful forests of the local landscape parks. The main attraction of the village is the Sanctuary of the Wielener Mother of God - Refuge of Sinners. Mother of God is venerated here since the 14th Century. The church was built by the Cistercians, but that were driven away by robbers from Silesia. The local Provost together with the local council have invited the Wedding of Weddings to a pilgrimage to the Wielener sanctuary.
In a number of dimensions this was the greatest event in the whole series of the meetings. A górale orchestra accompanied us over four days (earlier it came only for one afternoon). So a quite large number of people was attracted by its performance and indirectly the interest in the non alcoholic weddings grew. We participated in celebrities of Our Lady Visitation feast that was itself attended by numerous pilgrims (dozens of thousands each day) so that the speeches of the spiritual leader of the meeting, Father Zazel, could be heard daily by far larger number of people than usually. We had non typical starting hour of the wedding reception, 6 PM. This made the dancing party the longest so far. And we had non typical possibilities to spend the leisure time by swimming, biking, surfing, kayaking etc.
And the most important thing is the unexpected positive reaction to these speeches by the people. Right on the first day of the meeting Monsignor Zązel, Honorary Chaplain of His Holiness, addressed the firemen that had their pilgrimage to Our Lady of Wielen, called Escape of the Sinners. He managed to convince them that a fireman should be sober 24 hours a day seven days in a week. The firemen cheered upon this request.
As surprising and as joyful this fact may be, it was still nothing compared to what happened two days later. Monsignor Zązel after a brief speech asked who of the pilgrims would like to have a non alcoholic wedding. Thousands raised their hands. Nobody of us attending the meeting of couples that had non alcoholic weddings would ever expect that we would be surrounded by so many fans of nonalcoholic weddings. This was a great day for us. But not ony for us but also for whole Poland. We have to acknowledge that we did not achieve this by our own power. It was a miraculous intervention of the Holy Ghost.
There were many more intriguing events. For example the press conference. The participants had so much to say that one and a half hour was insufficient to let everybody say something. At the same time the journalists were totally surprised by our point of view on the perspectives of a sober Poland.
We had also the possibilities to learn much. Though the preachers and lecturers were somehow invited independently, they provided us with a consistent multi-facial view of our faith. We had two lecturers, professors from the Poznań Universities. (Father extraordinary professor Dr. Habil. Jacek Hadryś, Dean of Theological Faculty of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and extraordinary professor Dr. Habil. Andrzej Urbaniak from Computer Science Department of Poznań University of Technology and Papal Theological University). Every other day a different preacher during the Holy Mass. At the remaining Masses speeches were given by a bishop (Józef Zawitkowski from Łowicz) and an archbishop (Stanisław Gądecki of Poznań). Still another bishop (Antoni Pacyfik Dydycz of Drohiczyn) came to deliver a short lecture on the general situation of families. The hosting provost (Rev. Canonicus Marian Szymański) gave us several interesting speeches. And last not least the aforementioned Monsignor Zązel gave us many interesting insights into the culture of górale, its close relationship to our faith and reflected on the wisdom of those who do not drink alcohol and inculturate the sober lifestyle. He recalls that an alcoholic wedding is something for beggars. And his own father advised him: "Do not follow the example of beggars (paupers). Even if everyone around you drinks, you shall not drink."
Why does the most sober nation in Europe organize such events that popularize the culture of sobriety and sober lifestyle?
The answer is certainly not easy, because it just requires a versatile and multi-faceted explanation.
First you have to try to explain why Poland are the most sober nation in Europe.
Above all, it must be said that Poland was a sober nation, although not always so. One needs only to recall the Battle of Grunwald, which brought the Polish state the position of world power. The Americans have their Boston Tea Party, when they threw the British tea into the sea, and the Poles have their Grunwalder wine party when they poured the German wine in the lake.
After the Grunwald victory Poland cared for law and order in Europe for almost 300 years. Poland had defined a new world order based on the Catholic faith during the Council of Constance. But unfortunately the German schismatic and drunkard Martin Luther infected with his heresy also significant parts of the Polish nobility. This brought change of habits, especially the oppression of the peasants and drunkenness. And so the former great power became prey to the occupying powers.
But many Poles were not blind and have understood it correctly, what was the reason of this change. And so we worked to strengthen the Catholic faith and therefore also on the restoration of sober habits. The work of a single priest, Alojzy Ficek, made 300 Vodka maker bankrupt. After regaining independence, alcohol consumption dropped to just 0.7 liters per capita.
But the Second World War was a moral disaster. The Germans killed almost all the leaders of the abstinent organizations. After the war, the Communists arrested anyone who wanted to start a abstinent organizations. Then the Polish bishops decided that all Catholics should have non-alcoholic weddings. But the media monopoly of the Communists made it impossible that one learns about it. And yet the orthodox Catholics have celebrated by themselves more often such weddings.
Today Poland has become the most sober nation in Europe, with the lowest consumption of alcohol per capita and with the largest proportion of abstainers. But from the short story, we learn that once-won position is not given forever. One must always educate the subsequent generations, particularly because enemies of the Church and of Poland run subversive activities by continually attacking the faith and sobriety. Not for nothing free beer is given away to the students.
Second, the position of the best in Europe is no reason for complacency. Europe is by far the drunkard continent in the world. In Poland only 33% of adults are committed to abstinence, while in the world there are 45% on average, and the most sober regions exceed 90%. Much effort is still needed to get to world class level.
And thirdly, it is important to make Poland's achievements in the field of sobriety visible to the whole world. The reason? The numerous campaigns of lies against Poland are just based on libel that Poland is a drunk country. One spreads these lies in order to justify the murder of 12 million Poles during the Second World War with the embezzlement that we are a worthless or at least inferior people, so that eradication of such a nation was not a crime. This is also done to make believable the lie of "Polish concentration camps".
Finally, for centuries, or even millennia, we are witnessing in Europe a continuing struggle between the robbers-and-drunkards-culture and the labor-and-prayer- culture. The mentioned Cistercians were just those who lived by the work with their own hands, cultivated the fields and prayed. The robbers, who were always drunkhards, forced them to leave. But in the fields of Grunwald the water-drinker labor-and-prayer-culture prevailed. It also does matter which one from these cultures wins, since only the labor-and-prayer- culture is sustainable, therefore it guarantees the possibility of peaceful coexistence between people of our continent. But the robbers-and-drunkards-culture is not viable by itself, it is a parasitic culture that is constantly generating exploitation and war.
Therefore, participation in the Wedding of the Weddings is a great honor and the support for the event is a historical duty. We are grateful to the organizers, bishops, priests, preachers, lecturers, guides, sponsors and donators, all the people working so that we could enjoy these four days of celebrations. Last not least to all the couples that came here with their children to create an atmosphere of joy and hope for the future. We are looking forward to meet everybody next year.
The 20th Wedding of the Weddings was celebrated in Kamesznica, the most sober village of Poland, the most sober country of Europe. In the village of 3,000 inhabitants, there were 40,000 participants of non-alcoholic wedding receptions over the last 30 years. The Meeting was organized by the Association Wedding of the Weddings and several abstainer organizations from Kamesznica, under the leadership of the Provest of Kamesznica, Msgn. Władysław Zązel.
On Thursday, July 31, 2014, upon arrival, we prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Thereafter we walked to the neoclassical Potocki mansion (built in 1833), surrounded by a park in the English style.
In the evening Bishop Peter Greger, suffragan of Bielsko-Biała-Żywiec read a Pontifical Mass officially staring Wedding of the Weddings 2014. He welcomed us with the words "You are the apostles of sobriety in the modern world. Let your testimony be an encouragement to others that one can and should live in sobriety".
After the Mass Rev. Dr. Wojciech Ignasiak had a short lecture on fostering culture of sobriety by the Rev.-F.- Blachnicki-Centre of Prevention and Training. Then we danced the so-called Lednica-dances under the guidance of Hojnowie Brothers and Friends.
After supper there was a time to get acquainted with the historical monuments of the region. A talk on the subject with a slideshow was given by M.Sc. Katarzyna Śleziak
The next day, Friday, August 1, 2014, started with a Pontifical Mass, read by Bishop Tadeusz Bronakowski, suffragan of Łomża, Chairman Commission of of the Conference of the Polish Episcopate on Apostolate of Sobriety, Honorary Member of the Wedding-of-the-Weddings-Association. He thanked us for our testimony of abstinence on the most beautiful day of life, at the day of the sacrament of marriage. "Resignation from alcohol can not be regarded as oddities. Teetotaler is a man who looks a lot further and see smore. Teetotalers are wise people, responsible, reigning over their lives" he said. The Episcopate of Poland distinguished the Wedding-of-the-Weddings-Association with the Saint-John-the-Baptist Sobriety Statuette. The standard of the Association was hallowed by the Bishop. A second Saint-John-the-Baptist Sobriety Statuette was granted by the Polish Bishop Conference personally to the Msgn. Władysław Zązel for his extraordinary achievements in speading the sober style of life in Poland.
After the Holy Mass we attended a Conference "Life as a gift" by Msgr. Dr. Francis Płonka, director of the Diocesan House of the Virgin and Child in Bielsko-Biała. Then the next Conference "Risks of modern addiction of children and young people and the way out to freedom" was given by Fr. can. MA lic. Józef Walusiak, founder of the Foundation "Hope", the chaplain of the Catholic Centre for Education and Therapy of Youth "Hope".
Fr. Dr. Marcin Kołodziej, defender of the marriage bond in the Metropolitan Court of Clerics in Wroclaw and a member of the Liturgical Commission of the Archdiocese of Wroclaw. lectured on "Is the faith needs of the liturgy?".
After lunch we prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Afterwards we went by busses to Mount Matyska to pray on the Way of the Cross, under the guidance of Msgr. Władysław Zązel, Member of the Polish Episcopal Conference Commission of the Apostolate of Sobriety and the founder of the Wedding-of-the-Wedding-Movement.
After the supper we had elections at the General Assembly of the Association.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, started with Conference "Family is the most important" by M.Sc. Małgorzata and Dr. Henryk Jarosiewiczowie, psychologists (specialization: characterology, clinical psychology, psychology of management), researchers at the University of Wroclaw and the Institute of Characterology and founder of the Academy of Sciences of Upbringing.
The next conferernce was given by Krzysztof Brzózka, Director of the State Agency for Solving Alcohol Problems (PARPA) on the topic: "Why talk about sobriety from the point of view of public health" -
The last conference "History of Żywiec region" - by M.Sc. Katarzyna Śleziak, Pedagogical University of Cracow, completed the morning programme.
The evening started with a Holy Mass with renewal of marriage vows. It was read by Father Leon Knabit OSB. Then the participants followed the Skomielna Black Orchestra to the local primary school to take part in the Non-alcoholic wedding reception, lead by bellwether Rafal Folwarski. We danced till 4 o'clock in the morning.
On Sunday, August 3, 2014 Monsignor Władysław Zązel read the Holy Mass ending the meeting. At the end addresses from His Holiness Pope Francis, Cardinal Archbiship of Cracow, current and former Presidents of Polish Catholic Bishop Conference, Bishop Administrator of Drohiczyn, Żywiec County President, Żywiec City President and Milówka Region President (the last occurring personally) were read.
Thereafter Skomielna Black Orchestra concerted. Afterwards we had the occasion to see a theatrical performance by artists from Skomielna White. At the end participations diplomas were handed out.
We thank for this great event to the Organizers: Sobriety Association - Club "Grapka" and Wedding-of-the-Wedding- Association and the Name-of-the-Blessed-Virgin-Mary Roman Catholic Church Parish in Kamesznica. And especially to the meeting coordinator Mrs. Irena Pietras (Association of Sobriety - Club "Grapka")
See a slideshow of this year Wedding of the Weddings celebrations.
"Were it not for a wedding, it would not give us here." This truth certainly fits to the participants of the XXI National Meeting of the Couples Who Had Non-alcoholic Wedding Reception "Wedding of the Weddings 2015" in Krynica Zdrój. The meeting lasted from the last Thursday in July to the first Sunday in August. Why do we stress the wedding? Because the sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery. And one of the readings (about beheading of John the Baptist) at Mass these days describes, as criminal a man is, if he does not conform this commandment. And why not-alcoholic? During the wedding ceremony the couple is reminded of God's words: What God has joined together, let not man separate. And it is generally known that alcohol separates people apart. This is evidenced by the divorce statistics and other examples, which were presented in his homily by Bishop T. Bronakowski.
The reader will ask: Is now an enlightened man willing to fret about crime, divorce, fraud, violence against one's neighbor? One must be tolerant of other value systems. And why should I care about the fate of others? One must not interfere with other private affairs. Given this attitude, it will do well to remind that there is a God, firstly, and secondly, that he is a just judge, who rewards the good and punishes evil. And that man has an immortal soul, and therefore the punishment can take a long time and even eternity. But there is also eternal reward. This is certainly the case for the 21 saints and blesseds, before whose relics we prayed in those days for the Polish families. Therefore, it is worthwhile to observe the commandments of God.
Wedding of the Weddings is an unusual wedding. It is the kind of wedding that leads to God. A large number of priests, including bishops Jeż and Bronakowski, read Holy Mass and preached to us. We visited the monumental St. Anthony's church in Krynica Zdroj, wooden churches of Krynica and Powroźnik. During a prayer walk on the Parkowa Mountain we recited the rosary and the Mercy Rosary. We asked the Virgin Mary to intercede. We are saturated with the beauty of the historic architecture of Krynica and the elegance of modern building of mineral water drinking facility, which hosted the non-alcoholic ball of Wedding of the Weddings. The beauty of old music played by Krynica-Zdroj Quartet and marching music peformed by the local orchestra during the parade of our wedding society amazed us. Concert of DEUS MEUS in the fresh air and the spiritual music of the Church Ensambles led our thoughts heavenward. Festive wedding-Polonaise and wedding dances on the ball integrated the joy of body and soul. The author of this statement did not fail to notice the royal dishes, which pleased us during the four days.
The beautiful frame of joyful leisure time served a very important purpose - the encounter with God and with men. As for the meeting with the people, so it is most important to take away one's family from everyday stress and to see happy faces of children and parents. For "conversion and evangelization begins in the family." As the motto of this year's meeting states. Next we meet other families, sharing the joys and sorrows, experiences and thoughts. Finally, the meeting provides us with the new energy, to go into the world and evangelize it, by spreading the idea of nonalcoholic weddings.
Four days have passed quickly. It is a pity that we have to leave this island of normalcy. Somewhere in a distant world more than 50% of the adult population are voluntary lifelong abstainers. Only in the forgotten European den, a bottle is subject of aspirations of "artists". Fortunately, two hundred very sensible people came to Krynica who would like to restore the Polish traditions that Piotr Skarga was a witness of. There were just times when in Poland young and healthy people did not drink alcohol but only spring water. We want his time to return. Briefly, in Krynica there was a real wedding, a real pleasure. "At this wedding Jesus also was invited with his disciples."
And I was there, I drank mineral water to the health, and what I've seen and heard, I have also reported [free translation of a poem].
And I thank all those who made this great event possible. And there were dozens that have to be listed here. I will only mention a few names here: Anna and Bartholomew Stelmach, who coordinated the preparation and supervised the meeting itself. Msgr. John Wnęk, pastor of St. Anthony's parish, Father Musiał Batłomiej and Fr. Artur ważny, bishops Jeż andBronakowski. Special thanks to Msgr. Władysław Zązel who had created "wedding of weddings" and they are constantly supervised.
See a slideshow of this year Wedding of the Weddings celebrations.
From 18.8. till 21.08.2016 in Myczkowce, in the most south-eastern corner of Poland, the 22nd National Meeting of the Couples Who Had Non-Alcoholic Wedding took place. The annual event, called "Wedding of the Weddings", gathered this time about 50 couples with their children from all over Poland. There were also guests from the Ukraine. The program included a concert of African Evangelisation Band, a ship cruise through the artificial Solina lake, visit in a biblical garden, in an open air museum of church miniatures, and the traditional non-alcoholic wedding party.
But the participants come here for mainly because of the retreat, which is an integral part of annual meetings. The preachers were the Bishop of Rzeszów Jan Wątroba, auxiliary bishop of Łomża Tadeusz Bronakowski, Father Władysław Zązel (who inizierte the meeting series). Lectures were given by Prof. Zofia Włodarczyk from Agricultural University of Kraków (Cracow) and a number of other speakers. The topics of the lectures included biblical gardens and their importance in the proclaiming of biblical content, spiritual dangers in the modern world for individuals, marriages and families and on the family as the first school love, as well as on the fight against sobriety in the communist era and attempts to restore the pre-war sober lifestyle nowadays. Daily all took part in Holy Mass and Divine Mercy Chaplet. On Friday there was a Stations of the Cross devotion outdoors.
The aim of the event is to spread the idea of nonalcoholic weddings, to promote alcohol-free lifestyle, to show their own children, that you are able to spend leisure time without alcohol and that the gaiety needs no chemical stimulus, but on the contrary it streams from the unburdened human heart. This puts the religious education at the center. Man is happy when his conscience is not burdened by sin. Therefore confession and repentance is an important point of the meeting. It is further noted that the love of one's neighbor, compassion towards others who are affected by the load of alcoholism, whose exclusion is abolished from society by carrying alcoholic events like weddings offering them the opportunity to participate free of risk in social life, Loving parents should never let the children see them in a drunken state. The simplest way to achieve this goal is via the abstinence of parents. Further, abstinence is the surest way to exclude the FAS syndrome in children.
The message of the event is directed primarily to the Polish society, but there were participants in the past from other European countries like France, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Belarus, and this year also from Ukraine.
Only 20-25% of weddings in Poland are alcohol-free. Is it much or little? The main thing is that the betrothed are moved by the deep Catholic faith to organise such a wedding. By contrast, the alcoholic weddings are increasingly becoming the symptom of faith decay, especially if you look at vulgar songs, amoral games and sometimes even adultery present at alcoholic events. Briefly, alcoholic weddings undermine the religious ceremony of the wedding and the Catholic marriage itself. Therefore, the struggle for nonalcoholic weddings is not just a concern for the physical health, but also the struggle for preservation of the Catholic faith, against its expiration in the family.
See a slideshow of Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday of this year Wedding of the Weddings celebrations.
While recalling the event, we shall not forget our host, Father Bogdan Janik. The Retreat and Rehabilitation Center he created and where he hosted us is an expression of a deep love of him for poor children and for the poor inhabitants of this region. He is himself an abstinent from alcohol and works to spread such a life style. But he understands well that in order to refrain from drinking alcohol one needs to have hope. So like Father BronisławMarkiewicz did a century ago, he creates signs of hope for the poor inhabitants. The Retreat and Rehabilitation Center by itself as a job generator for local workers. Gardeners, carpenters and other find a job here. The mini-zoo, church miniature museum, the biblical garden attract tourists from various parts of Poland so that the local people can make life of tourism. He helped them to create hiking trails in the neigbouring Bieszczady mountains so that they can keep the visitors for even longer and attract more of them.
So thank you Father Janik for hosting the Wedding of the Weddings and for the excellent personal example.
We thank also the Family Mazur who organised this event in an excellent and fruitful way.