15thPolish National Meeting of Couples Who Had Non-Alcoholic Wedding Celebrations

Wedding of the Weddings 2009

Łomża (Poland), 30.7-2.8.2009

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.