Canonical Visitation of the Finnish SCJ District and the Entrusting of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Helsinki to the Congregation of the Sacred Heart Fathers
From 8th -13th April, 2010 the Superior of the Polish SCJ Province was in Finland undertaking a canonical visitation of the Finnish SCJ District. Fr. Artur Sanecki SCJ, the Provincial visited every location where the SCJ priests carry out their work: Helsinki, Kouvula, Tampere and Turku. The purpose of the visitation was to meet all the members of the District and to learn more about their mission. Furthermore, it was also an opportunity for Fr. Artur Sanecki SCJ to meet the Diocesan Bishop, His Excellency the Rev. Teemu Sippo SCJ.
On 12th April 2010, the Provincial of the Polish SCJ Province Fr. Artur Sanecki SCJ and the Ordinary of the Diocese of Helsinki, His Excellency the Rev. Teemu Sippo SCJ, signed an agreement about the entrusting of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Helsinki to our Congregation (the Sacred Heart Fathers), for a period of 50 years.
By signing this agreement, the Provincial of the Polish SCJ Province and the Bishop of Helsinki wanted to confirm the mission of our Congregation in Finland and further strengthen it by establishing a religious house in the parish which has been entrusted to our care.
The Holy Mass presided by Bishop Teemu Sippo SCJ initiated this joyous and significant event. The Provincial of the Polish SCJ Province Fr. Artur Sanecki SCJ gave homily. All the members of the Finnish District co-celebrated holy mass. After mass, a festive luncheon was served and thereafter the Provincial and the Bishop signed the agreement.
The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Helsinki was designed by a Finnish architect; Kay Selenius and was the second Catholic Church built in Helsinki. It was consecrated on 6th December 1954 and on the same day the parish was established. Priests from our Congregation have been responsible for the pastoral care of this parish since its beginning. Fr. Kazimierz Lewandowski SCJ has been the appointed parish priest since 1999. He is now being assisted by Fr. Rafal Czernia SCJ who has been assigned as the assistant pastor. Moreover, two other priests, Fr. Wieslaw Swiech SCJ and Fr. Frans Voss SCJ also assist in the pastoral work in this parish.
At the moment, the parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Helsinki has 3032 parishioners, who come from 88 countries. This figure comprises about 28% of all Catholics registered in Finland. Mass in the parish church is celebrated in Finnish the majority national language and other major languages spoken by these Catholic immigrants, namely English, Polish, Swedish, Vietnamese and Spanish. For many years, the priests from our parish have also been serving in the Carmelite Monastery which is located in the nearby town of Espoo.
02 November 2010