The Kowalewski couple told us the story of Human Life International in Poland in the light of the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, whose twentieth anniversary will be celebrated in Rome on March 24th
In preparation for the great prayer vigil that will be held at the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, in Rome, on March 24th, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, the Pontifical Council for the Family will publish a series of testimonies highlighting the bond—now stronger than ever—between this magisterial document and the diversity of world contexts in which people are fighting daily to defend and support life. The first story is that of Ewa Kowalewska and Lech Kowalewski, the heads of Human Life International in Poland, who explain their fruitful relationship with this encyclical, since its promulgation up to today:
"The announcement of Pope John Paul II‘s encyclical Evangelium Vitae was no surprise for us. Now, after having evolved in the milieu of family ministry and working on the Council for the family of the Catholic Church in Poland, we are deeply rooted in the message of Humanae Vitae, the encyclical of Pope Paul VI. The positive and Christian vision of marriage, natural methods of fertility awareness, the education and defense of the life of the unborn are values that the Polish Church surrounded us with as air. All this has given us the strength not only to build a happy marriage and a family, but also to engage actively in the fight against abortion, which is very widespread in Poland. Both of us have always been well aware that the foundations of our great edifice of love were laid by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, later Pope John Paul II, inspired by the wisdom contained in the encyclical Humanae Vitae.
In 1991, we learned that the Holy Father was working on a new encyclical dedicated to the protection of human life. This was indeed the main theme of many private conversations that we had during the International Congress of Families, held in Bratislava under the patronage of the Pontifical Council for the Family. Of course, we were very pleased by the news, which was later confirmed by the facts. That encyclical was in fact exactly what the modern world needed. It was what the Church needed."