Sunday, June 06, 2010

Beatification of Fr Jerzy Popieluszko - click for link

Fr Jerzy Popiełuszko was a Polish priest who was a staunch anti-communist and associated with the strikers of the Solidarity Union. In his sermons, he interwove spiritual exhortations with political messages, criticizing the Communist system and motivating people to protest. During the period of martial law in Poland, the Catholic church was the only force that could voice protest comparatively openly, with the regular celebration of Mass presenting opportunities for public gatherings in churches. Fr Popiełuszko's sermons were routinely broadcast by Radio Free Europe, and thus became famous throughout Poland for their uncompromising stance against the regime. Communist secret police (SB) tried to silence and intimidate him. When those techniques did not work, they fabricated evidence against him; he was arrested in 1983, but soon released on intervention of the clergy and pardoned by an amnesty.
Several months later, in October 13th, 1984, a car accident was set up to kill Jerzy Popiełuszko but he managed to escaped it. The alternative plan was to kidnap him, and it was carried out on October 19th, 1984. The priest was brutally beaten to death by three Security Police officers. Then, his body was dumped into the Vistula Water Reservoir near Włocławek from where it was recovered on October 30, 1984. The cult of Fr Popieluszko developed rapidly in Poland soon after his tragic death and he is venerated as a martyr. To read the post commemorating him click HERE