Gorzkie Żale, or Bitter Lamentations, is a Polish Lenten devotion which is well loved at our Resurrectionist Polish parishes, Sacred Heart in Kitchener and St. Stanislaus Kostka in Hamilton. For those who have never experienced this meditative Eucharistic prayer we would encourage you to learn about it and visit one of our parishes on a Sunday in Lent to experience it yourself.
Gorzkie Żale begins with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The service includes several extended hymns, all meditative in nature, which draw the participant into prayerful contemplation. Even if you don’t know Polish, the melodies themselves will foster prayers of lament for Jesus’ suffering and gratitude for his great sacrifice. Prayers of Intention are offered, and the priest gives a passion-related homily. Since there are usually seven Sundays in Lent this means seven homilies during Gorzkie Żale, and priests usually choose to do a series. For example some would talk about the specific people who were part of the Passion, or places, or the seven last words of Christ. Following the homily a trisagion prayer is sung, then Benediction to conclude.
This is a beautiful Lenten practice which truly fosters quiet personal and communal prayer in our busy lives. We encourage everyone to participate in Lenten services like Gorzkie Żale; you can find a list of opportunities at the Resurrectionist parishes by clicking the button below. If you would like to learn more about the history of Gorzkie Żale click here.