Father Jerzy Popiełuszko beatified.

8 Jun 2010

  Father Jerzy Popiełuszko was beatified during an open-air Mass held in Piłsudski Square. Close to 150,000 faithful flooded into Warsaw for the ceremony. Popiełuszko’s 100-year-old mother Marianna Popiełuszko and his siblings attended the services, along with Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Jerzy Buzek, the head of the European Parliament.

 Pope Benedict XVI, on a visit to Cyprus, said, speaking in Polish “May his example and his intercession fire the enthusiasm of the priesthood and fill the faithful with love,” “His passionate service and his martyrdom are a special token of the victory of good over evil,” he added.
 Father Popiełuszko, who was a vocal supporter of Lech Wałęsa’s anti-communist Solidarity trade union movement, drew thousands of people to his sermons during the crackdown by communist authorities against the opposition in the early 1980s. Calling for peaceful resistance against the communist regime, Popiełuszko urged Poles to “overcome evil with good.”

 At the Holy Mass in Warsaw Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes, recalled how Father Jerzy Popiełuszko “did not yield to temptation to survive in this death camp” under communist rule.
“Father Jerzy … helped only by spiritual means, such as truth, justice and love, demanded freedom of conscience for citizen and priest,” Archbishop Amato said. “But the lost ideology did not accept the light of truth and justice.”
 “So this defenseless priest was shadowed, persecuted, arrested, tortured and then brutally bound and, though still living, thrown into water by criminals with no respect for life, who thus left him contemptuously to his death,” he said.

 As SIR agency reports, over the years, 18 million people have visited, individually or in groups, the tomb of Father Jerzy Popiełuszko in the parish of St Stanislao Kostka in Warsaw.

 The 37-year-old priest was murdered by Communist intelligence agents on 19 October 1984. The persons who were directly responsible for his assassination served their punishment, but the instigators of the murder have never been officially identified.

 Although Communist authorities had placed a ban on attending public demonstrations, more than 500,000 people took part in the funeral of Father Jerzy, celebrated in Warsaw on 3 November 1984, as for them the priest symbolised the justice and truth denied by the regime.

 The first request for the beatification of Fr. Jerzy was submitted to the Chancery Office of the primate of the Polish Church just two days after his funeral. In the course of 1985, 15,000 similar requests were sent to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, one year after the death of the priest.

John Paul II initiated the process of Popiełuszko’s beatification in 1997.



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