He made his first pilgrimage in honor or Our Lady before he was 2.
Franek fought for his life for 9 months. Hundreds of pilgrims, different communities, and many other Catholics prayed for a miracle of healing. He was buried on July 26, 2021 in the town of Świdnica and his unique funeral was described by Fr. Przemysław Pojasek.
The Requiem Mass was said in the Church of the Holy Spirit in Świdnica. The congregation was addressed by Fr. Tomasz Filinowicz, who had been Franek’s spiritual director during the months preceding his death. In an interview with Gość Niedzielny weekly, Fr. Tomasz said:
“I am completely helpless faced with the mystery of children’s suffering and death. It poses so many questions to which I can only humbly reply ‘I don’t know.’ When, not so long ago, Frank and I were preparing for his First Communion, I told him at one of the meetings that a person’s life is like a journey. It has its start, its finish and its signposts, which are God’s commandments that are supposed to help us reach our destination. And although the signs are identical for everyone, each and every journey is different. Franek’s journey was special because Franek himself was special. His journey was short; it took less than eight years to complete.”
Franek suffered like Christ
The priest drew attention to the analogies between the boy’s last months of life and the Passion of Jesus Christ.
He also stressed that the boy received a lot of support from doctors and other medical personnel during the fight with his illness. He had beside him dedicated doctors, nurses, psychologists, relatives and dozens of people who may not even have known him before. All of them extended a helping hand and all tried to do what they could to make his cross less heavy. On the day of his First Communion, Franek overcame the grimace of pain on his face and replaced it with a smile. But on the way, he also fell under the weight of the cross and there were moments of doubt and helplessness.
Fr. Tomasz also compared Franek’s mother to Mary, who stayed with her dying son until his last breath.
Franek went on a pilgrimage to the Jasna Góra shrine of Our Lady four times
The priest also mentioned the testimony that the boy gave until the end, taking care of others and speaking kind words to them to make them feel better. Franek’s father also spoke about it, encouraging the participants of the funeral to treat themselves to sweets, because that was what his son would have wanted.
Franek’s father Paweł also spoke during the funeral and addressed the congregation and his deceased son:
“You gave us so much joy during your seven years of life. We vividly remember the moments spent with you. Your mother remembers them with tenderness. We also remember with joy the moments of our common pilgrimage to Jasna Góra. You went on foot to Our Lady before you were two years old and you reached the destination four times. The last 9 months were a hard yet beautiful time with you. During that time in the hospital we got very close and had many very deep talks. Each time you were coming home, you wanted to bring something to your brothers. Sometimes it was chewing gum, juice or candy. You wanted to buy them gifts with your money. You did the same in the hospital ward, where you surprised everyone.”
Franek’s father addressed his other children, too. He stressed that it is not God but a sickness that takes away their beloved brother: “God is the God of life, not of death.”
Franek would walk with other pilgrims to the Jasna Góra shrine, and that is why his funeral gathered not only the boy’s family and friends, but also participants of the Pilgrimage of Świdnica Diocese to Jasna Góra, which the boy attended as many as four times.
Fr. Przemysław Pojasek spoke moreover about the significance of the pilgrims’ community in the last months of the boy’s life. The pilgrims held prayer vigils and offered help to the family’s other children. He said that “while we did not manage to receive the miracle of healing, this time was a true spiritual retreat for all.”
Source: Gość Niedzielny weekly