ADAM CARDINAL MAIDA, APRIL 21, 2007
As the spiritual leader, religious advisor and proud member of Polonia, Detroit’s Polish population could not have found a more eloquent spokesman than Adam Cardinal Maida.
“Growing up in a Polish community in Pennsylvania, I recognized at a very early age that faith and culture went together. Especially for new immigrants, church was not only a place to pray—it was a place to network, to celebrate traditions.”
His Eminence Cardinal Maida, who has been the Archbishop of Detroit for more than sixteen years, found his calling to the priesthood through the recognition of the overwhelming, Divine-inspired bonding power that faith has, not only among the Polish community, but all people everywhere. “At the funeral of John Paul II, I witnessed world leaders who would not shake hands politically come together and embrace with the Kiss of Peace. That is the power that God’s intervention has on mankind.”
For non-Poles, it is sometimes easy to overlook the intense symbolism that the election of John Paul II in 1978 to the papacy had and has on Poles all over the globe. Maida is able to put that into perspective: “I heard the Holy Father say many time, “Poland always has faith.” He was lifted by God from that land, and everywhere he went, what he preached and taught, he lived.”
Named Cardinal in 1994, Maida had the opportunity to bond further with John Paul II as an advisor to help in the ministry. Nearly seven hundred Detroiters flew to Rome to witness his elevation to Sacred College of Cardinals.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1930, Maida describes a close knit family life throughout his formative years; hardworking Polish immigrant parents who encouraged their three sons both in religious observance and ethical living. “One brother is also a priest,” Maida says, then smiles: “The other chose to get married and grow priests.”
Although Cardinal Maida can speak with equal expertise on Polish traditions such as Wigilia, Holy Week and paczki, his universal congeniality and authority is best exemplified by his visits throughout the greater Detroit community, to folks of all faiths and nationalities.
Nearly everywhere he travels, Baptist churches and synagogues alike, he is referred to by the spiritual leaders of those organizations as ‘Our Bishop.”
What better proof of the bonding power of Christ.