Jerzy Popiełuszko

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Jerzy Popieluszko

Jerzy Popiełuszko (pron. jɛʐɨ popʲɛwuʂko) (Okopy, 14 September 1947 - Włocławek, 19 October 1984) was a Polish presbyter, killed by officers of the ministry of the interior of the People's Republic of Poland. He is treated with great respect and honored as blessed by the Catholic Church.

Life[change | change source]

Born in Okopy, a lone village near Suchowola, his parents were farmers, and in this simple environment became grown into his vocation. He was ordained priest on 28 May 1972 in Warsaw by cardinal Stefan Wyszyński.

Until 1980 he was a priest in his home village, occupying himself mainly with the education of children and boys, since that moment began to near the movement of Polish workers and to subjects of social justice.

In his pastoral activity, he took his work near the workers of steelworks, celebrating a solemn mass in the factory during a strike of the metallurgiacal workers.

Next, he joined the workers of the independent trade union Solidarność (Solidarity), adverse to the communist system of government. He was an anticommunist sure of his faith, and in his preachings launched criticisms of the system and invited the people to contest the system of government.

The challenge to the system of government[change | change source]

During the period of the martial law (1981 - 1983) the Catholic Church was the only force that could have a certain possibility of criticism, through the preachings during the celebration of the masses.

The homilies and the preachings of Father Popiełuszko were regularly transmitted by Radio Free Europe, which gave him a certain popularity also in other countries.

He was initially threatened and ordered to silence by the Polish Ministry of the Interior. On 13 October 1984, he was involved in a traffic accident from which however he went out whole.

Murder[change | change source]

Image of the funeral

On 19 October 1984, on return from a pastoral service, he was taken away illegally and killed by three officers of the Ministry of the Interior, and his body was found on 30 October in the waters of the Vistula River close to Włocławek.

The notice of the murder caused disorders in Poland, and the authors of the murder - the captains Grzegorz Piotrowski, Leszek Pękala, Waldemar Chmielewski, and Colonel Adam Petruszka - were judged guilty and stated punishment to 25 years of prison, but were freed as amnesty some year later.

The funeral took 3rd of November400.000 people attended including the leader of Solidarność Lech Wałęsa.

Beatification[change | change source]

His grave is the aim of regular pilgrimages, from Poland and from other countries; on 14 July 1987, Pope John Paul II prayed on his grave also.

The Catholic Church began the process of beatification in 1997.

On 19 December 2009, Pope Benedict XVI gave formal permission for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to issue the decree regarding "the martyrdom of Servant of God, George Popiełuszko, diocesan priest; born on 14 September 1947 in Okopy Suchowola (Poland) and killed in hate to the faith on 20 October 1984 near Włocławek (Poland)".[1]

The solemn mass of beatification of Jerzy Popiełuszko has been celebrated in Warsaw on Sunday, 6 June 2010, in the square that has a title of the marshal Piłsudski.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. (in Italian)Promulgation of Decrees of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, 19/12/2009[permanent dead link]

Writings on the subject[change | change source]

  • Annalia Guglielmi, Popiełuszko. «Non si può uccidere la speranza», Itaca, Castel Bolognese, 2010
  • Milena Kindziuk, Popiełuszko, Edizioni San Paolo, 2010
  • Grażyna Sikorska, Vita e morte di Jerzy Popiełuszko, Queriniana Editrice, 1986
  • Jerzy Popiełuszko, Il cammino della mia croce. Messe a Varsavia, Queriniana Editrice, 1985

Filmography[change | change source]

  • Rafal Wieczynski, Popiełuszko - Non si può uccidere la speranza, Ranieri Made s.r.l. - Mondadori, 2010

Other websites[change | change source]