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He was a great gift for us

2016-07-27


“Maciek is one the people whom during the preparations for World Youth Day God called to himself through suffering. He wasn’t the only one who went through a difficult time of illness, but only his sacrifice was complete and total,” said Fr. Grzegorz Suchodolski, General Secretary of the OC of WYD.

Maciej Szymon Cieśla – a visual communications designer from the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts. Award winning, with experience. He came to the Organizing Committee of WYD in September 2014, thanks to an announcement about volunteering posted at the university.

A Voice of Reason

“He began with graphic preparation for the first retreat: with one try he made something amazing. After this retreat we already knew that Maciek is a professional. We were finishing the website then as four people. It was very difficult for us: we asked Maciek for help. He came in the afternoon, after work for a few hours,” says Monika Rybczyńska, who deals with the graphic design of the OC. “He was a voice of reason for us: we sat until ten in the evening, Maciek left at eight and said: I am leaving, it’s the end, you should also leave – and bribed us with chocolates. He set things straight. We really loved him them.”

Maciek resigned from work and in December 2014 joined the graphic design team of WYD. He wasn’t strongly tied with the Church, but the opposite: he came fairly discouraged with the Church. And despite it all he wanted to work here.

“Once he told me: you know, Monia, I am here, because I want to believe still that there is something good in the Church,” said Monika.
Together with Monika they began work to create the visuals of the decorations of the city. Then there were the next projects: the pilgrim package, the design of the chasubles. And ongoing tasks. A lot of work. Time went by quickly.

He looked like Dr. House

The troubles with his health began in September 2015. The meniscus of Maciek’s knee began to hurt. He hadn’t been to a doctor for a long time: no one suspected that this is something serious. The people who knew him encouraged him to go for examinations, maybe for rehabilitation. Maciek didn’t care too much about this, though he didn’t entirely know where the pain came from: it had never happened to him that he had a knee injury, he hadn’t fallen over. During the delegate convention in November 2015 Maciek presented for the graphic department. He already walked on crutches and used a crutch to show on the big screen how not to use the WYD logo.

“He looked like Dr. House,” says Monika. “When later we asked for prayer for Maciek, everyone remembered him well, just because of these crutches.”

And later there were examinations, suspicions of cancer, a biopsy – and finally confirmation. And cancer treatment, one after another. The father of Maciek asked at the beginning of the disease to not leave him without work, to give him tasks, which he would be able to do from home. And Maciek, undergoing treatment, worked from home. He prepared projects connected with Ambassadors of WYD and retreats. He received as much treatment as was possible. And despite this the state of his leg kept getting worse, there was a spread of the cancer to his lungs. He choked up. Drugs didn’t work.

“He gave us strength. We often didn’t have it. In the race we had we lost perspective that we need to take care of ourselves, our health – and Maciek reminded us about this. He was a great gift for us. You rush, you work – and you remember – there is Maciek: there is something more important than whether the design will turn out the best,” recalls Monika.

When friends from the Organizing Committee heard about the illness of Maciek, they right away began to pray for him. For the first month they fasted. On a special table they wrote down who will support him spiritually in what way. The daily Chaplet of Divine Mercy prayer, many Holy Masses said in his intention. The volunteers of WYD were at an audience with the Pope – and the Pope prayed for him. Someone wrote to the parents of Bl. Chiara Luce Badano. Through a friend from the OC of WYD he was visited by the relics of St. Charbel.

“Once there was a Mass said in his intention in a chapel. Maciek was there. During the prayers of the faithful we cried like kids,” recalls Monika.

“What Maciek gave the Organizing Committee besides beautiful design work is trust that God is greater than human weakness and infirmity, that he can transform them. During his work in the Committee he became a person believing and trusting in God: he was able to receive his suffering, admit the Cross and he became a teacher for us,” summarizes Fr. Suchodolski.

I would simply like to live

On March 21 Maciek published a retreat on his Facebook profile prepared on the subject of “one hundred days with cancer” for his friends who wanted to know how he was doing.

“Exactly one hundred days ago I found out that some cells in my body decided to rebel: they mutated and transformed into a malignant tumor of the femur. It turned out that besides the fact that they are malignant, they like to travel and a month later they came to my lungs faster than Poles visit Croatia during vacation time,” he said with detachment from him illness in his “100 days with cancer” retreat.

In May he wrote: “How quickly life and priorities change … and how we have the most varied of dreams. Some dream about career and fame, promotion, new work, great wealth, or even that the biggest event of this year in Krakow (WYD) would turn out a success… I for 150 days dream about one thing… I would simply like to live.”

“We in the Committee are convinced that God gave him to us during this time of illness, he directed him to work in the Committee precisely so that he would be able to experience this time in the company of people of faith trusting in God. That he wanted to bring him to himself, through the amazing community of people working at World Youth Day,” said Fr. Grzegorz Suchodolski.
In June Maciek took the decision to amputate his leg. The medicines didn’t work, his state only worsened. June 6 there was the operation. And after this was only worse. He didn’t eat. He fell into depression. After the medicines that he received he sweated and had to dress up even a few dozen times every day. His sick lungs would not allow him to say a lot. For this he could write texts, or news on Facebook. Constantly in contact. Not long after his amputation he had an attack, he couldn’t breath, he went back into hospital. He wrote to his friends: it has never yet been so bad.

“From the beginning I felt that it was the plan of God that he was here. Because WYD is an undertaking in which you look at the person differently than in other companies. The spiritual sphere is very strong here – and this in secular companies normally isn’t there. We prayed, we fasted. And it was so strong. You could feel the unity. These are fruits of this disease: earlier at work things went variously, everyone was from a different place, there were division between us. Maciek really united us,” said Monika.

Maciek died on July 2, 2016.

Marta Łysek



The funeral of Maciej Cieśli was held on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 at 1:30pm in the Church of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ in Katowice. The place of his burial is the cemetery at Józefowska street in Katowice.
Instead of wreaths and flowers the family is asking for support for:
Hospicjum św. Łazarza ul. Fatimska 17, 31-831 Kraków.
Bank PKO S.A. I O/Kraków
38 1240 1431 1111 0000 0976 3744

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