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Solidarity priest Jerzy Popiełuszko remembered

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 14.09.2017 11:00
Events marking 70 years since the birth of the Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko, a Catholic priest and prominent Solidarity supporter who was murdered by communist-era secret police in 1984, are being held in Poland.
Runners in the southern city of Katowice pay tribute to Popiełuszko before setting off to his Warsaw grave. Photo: PAP/Andrzej GrygielRunners in the southern city of Katowice pay tribute to Popiełuszko before setting off to his Warsaw grave. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Grygiel

A special mass with prayers for him to be canonised will be celebrated at St. Stanislaus Church in Warsaw, where Father Popiełuszko worked for many years and where he is buried.

Father Popiełuszko was one of the staunchest supporters of Poland’s Solidarity freedom movement in the 1980s, serving as chaplain to workers at a Warsaw steel mill in 1980 and 1981.

During martial law, he celebrated monthly "Masses for the Homeland" that attracted tens of thousands of people to St. Stanislaus Church.

In his homilies, he condemned violations of human rights and called for freedom and dignity of the working people. The motto of his pastoral work was “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

On 19 October 1984, he was abducted, tortured and murdered by communist secret police officers.

Miracle attributed to his intercession

In 2010, Father Popiełuszko was beatified and declared a martyr for the faith. His canonisation process began in 2015. It is being carried out in France where a miracle attributed to his intercession is believed to have taken place.

This involves the healing of a 56-year-old Frenchman, Francois Audelan, who was in a terminal state as a result of a malignant type of leukemia.

According to reports, on 14 September 2012, Father Bernard, a French priest who earlier that year visited Father Popiełuszko’s grave in Warsaw, came to Audelan’s bedside, with a photo of the Polish priest in his hand, and prayed: “Father Jerzy, today is your birthday. If you can do something, do it today. Help us!”

Subsequent medical examinations are said to have found that there was no trace of leukemia left in the man’s body. “Complete remission of the sickness,” the doctors wrote in their report.

The case is being examined by the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes. Under canon law, to proclaim a "blessed" a saint there must be a miracle confirmed through his or her intercession that occurred after their beatification.

Father Popiełuszko’s grave in Warsaw is one of Poland’s main destinations for religious pilgrimages. It has so far been visited by over 20 million people from all over the world, including two popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, in addition to figures such as Mother Theresa, George W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Vaclav Havel and the Prince of Wales. (mk/gs)

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