Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Having finished the difficult, but very well done movie Popieluszko, I felt I should do a blog on this courageous priest, who was greatly responsible for the downfall of Communism in Poland.  After his death, the people had enough of tyranny in their daily lives.
BLESSED JERZY POPIELUSZKO  was born September 14, 1947, on a farm in the small village of Okopy located in North Eastern Poland. His parents Wladyslaw and Mariana were devout Catholics and he was baptized Alphons Popieluszko two days after his birth. Blessed Jerzy was a fragile child but as his parents stated he made up for any physical infirmities in strength of character.  

After finishing school, he attended the priests' seminary at Warsaw. Heserved his army duties in a special force, aimed to keep young men from becoming priests. This treatment had an adverse effect on Bl. Jerzy, as, after finishing his army service, he continued his studies. As a vicar he served in parishes in Warsaw, which consisted of the common people as well as students.
In 1981 he was sent to the workers, taking part in strikers in the Warsaw Steelworks. He was associated with workers and trade unionists from the Solidarity movement who opposed the Communist regime in Poland.
He was a staunch anti-communist, and in his sermons, interwove spiritual exhortations with political messages, criticizing the Communist system and motivating people to protest. During the period of martial law 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.

Bl. Jerzy’s sermons were routinely broadcast by Radio Free Europe, and thus became famous throughout Poland for their uncompromising stance against the regime. The Służba Bezpieczeństwa tried to silence or 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.

A car accident was set up to kill  Bl. Jerzy  on 13 October 1984 but he evaded it. The alternative plan was to kidnap him, which was carried out on 19 October 1984. He was beaten to death by three Security Police officers. They pretended to have problems with their car and flagged down Bl. Jerzy’s car for help.  He was beaten up, tied up and put in the trunk of the car. The officers bound a stone to his feet and dropped him into the Vistula Water Reservoir near Włocławek from where his body was recovered on 30 October 1984. 
An autopsy revealed that he may have still been alive when thrown into the water. News of the political murder caused an uproar throughout Poland, and the murderers and one of their superiors, Colonel Adam Pietruszka, were convicted of the crime. More than 250,000 people, including Lech Wałęsa, attended his funeral on 3 November 1984. Despite the murder and its repercussions, the Communist regime remained in power until 1989. Bl. Jerzy's murderers  were jailed but released later as part of an amnesty.
Bl. Jerzy's funeral

Bl. Jerzy was posthumously awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest decoration. The cause for his beatification began in 1997. On August 6th, 2010, in the presence of his mother, who was over 100  years old, Bl Jerzy was solemnly beatified

His relics carried through Warsaw
The last public words spoken by Bl.Jerzy Popieluzko during the meditation of the rosary October 19, 1984, give a summary of his life and may serve to encourage us.

“In order to defeat evil with good, in order to preserve the dignity of man, one must not use violence. It is the person who has failed to win on the strength of his heart and his reason, who tries to win by force…Let us pray that we be free from fear and intimidation, but above all from the lusts for revenge and violence.”

His mother, Marianna, was present to his beatification. Pope John Paul II said to her : “Mother, you have given us a great son”. And she responded, surprising even the pope: “Holy Father, I did not give him, but God has given him to the world through me. I gave him to the Church and I can’t take him back.” The Pope kissed her and hugged her.

Marianna received St. Rita’s International reward, which is given to people who forgive the murderers of their loved ones. She says she has forgiven the murderers of her son and she is praying for their conversion. She said that “they were fighting God, not my son”, and that they were trying to fight the Church.

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