The history of the church in Wadowice reaches back to 1325. In 1430 a fire breaks out, which consumes the town along with the church. After this fire a new stone church is built, which makes up the present gothic presbyterium. The next enlargement takes place towards the end of the XVIII century – the present three-nave body is built. In the middle of the XIX century the side chapels are constructed. The present appearance of the church is reached towards the end of the XIX century when the tower with the onion dome is added and the external facade is completed. The church in Wadowice attained its highest status in 1992 when it became the Lesser Basilica of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the last few years intensive work has been carried out changing the internal decoration - the colour of the walls, floors with carefully chosen themes for frescoes, create an atmosphere of cosy warmth, encouraging contemplation – prayer. The work was overseen by by Father Jakub Gil.
„With a deep reverence I also kiss the threshold of the house of God – the church of Wadowice – and in it the baptismal font at which I became implanted in Christ and received into the community of His Church.”
John Paul II
The central area of the church comprises the gothic presbyterium, in which is found the gold-plated baroque main altar. The frescoes are the most recent element of its decor depicting eight Polish saints and referring to eight blessings. The frescoes in the main nave illustrate nine out of all of the encyclicals published by John Paul II.
„As in years gone by, with a child’s trust I direct my footsteps to the Holy Cross Chapel, in order that I may look anew upon the face of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Her picture in Wadowice.”
John Paul II
The picture in Wadowice of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a copy of an icon found in the church of Saint Alphonse in Rome, the artict of which it is said to be Saint Thomas. The picture came to Wadowice towards the end of the XIX century.
The next chapel is the chapel of the Holy Family. Behind the altar with figures of the Holy Family in a fresco depicting Nazareth, on the ceiling are eight scenes referring to the Pope’s exhortations, on the wall a scene of the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist. In the centre stands the baptismal font at which, on the 20th June 1920, the army chaplain, Father Franciszek Zak, baptised Karol Jozef Wojtyla – later Pope John Paul II.
The third of the chapels is the chapel of the Holy Cross with an altar depicting the crucifixion. On the wall behind the altar is painted a fresco showing Jerusalem. On the ceiling are illustrated eight papal letters.
Tłumaczenie Krystyna Lenik
Tekst z książki przewodnika "Moje Miasto Wadowice" autor Janusz Jędrygas przewodnik Beskidzki, Tatrzański, Terenowy, Instruktor Przewodnictwa