On Nov. 30, 2014, the first Sunday in Advent, the Skórzec Church of Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle was elevated to the rank of the Diocesan Shrine of the Holy Cross by the power of decree of the Ordinary of Siedlce, Bp. Kazimierz Gurda.
Parishioners and guests, among whom were deaconate priests and the Marians led by the Polish Provincial, Fr. Paweł Naumowicz, MIC, attended the ceremony.
In his homily, Bp. K. Gurda paid special attention to the sign of the Cross, which is an eloquent sign of our faith, suffering, and victory. “The cross in the nave of the church has been there for 300 years or since the founding of the monastery; it also saw the creation of the parish and its passing under the spiritual care of the Congregation of Marian Fathers, founded by Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński. […] The cross of Christ is a source of grace that transforms our lives, and we recognize it as the mark our salvation. We value this sign. It has great significance for us and so we put it in places important to us. It is present in our public space. May the Crucified Jesus fill this Diocesan Shrine of the Holy Cross with His special works. This church, the shrine complex was renovated and expanded by the Marian Fathers with your help, dear parishioners. This shall a place dedicated into total possession of the one and true God who has shown us His love and mercy in His Son Jesus Christ, crucified for us.” said the bishop.
The church in Skórzec dates back to 1710, when Rev. Joseph Przygodzki, the Canon of Kamieniec, decided to sponsor a wooden church under the invocation of Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, together with the monastery of St. Jacek, and to locate there the religious of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.
Soon the church became a place of worship of the Cross, commonly regarded as miraculous. There is a lore claiming that the image of Christ on the cross located in the Castellan Cieciszewski’s estate was crying as to show the desire for the crucifix to be moved to the newly completed shrine in Skórzec. It was in the year 1718. When this request was fulfilled, the Miraculous Cross has become shortly afterwards the sign of Christ’s presence in the local people’s life. The faithful numerously flocked here to ask the Crucified for graces needed. Testimonies preserved in the 18th-century Book of Graces record many healings and comings of pilgrimages – particularly active during the church fair on the feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross – which numbered several thousand people.