Remembering Solidarity priest Jerzy Popiełuszko
PR dla Zagranicy
Events marking the 70th anniversary of the birth of the Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko, a Polish Roman Catholic priest who was murdered by communist secret police at the age of 37, are being held this weekend in north-eastern Poland.
Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak speaks during ceremonies in front of a monument to the Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko in Suchowola. Photo: PAP/Artur Reszko
The ceremonies are taking place in the priest’s family village of Okopy and the nearby town of Suchowola where he attended school.
Among those taking part are high-ranking politicians, including Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, in addition to church leaders, Father Popiełuszko’s friends and crowds of faithful wanting to sense the atmosphere of the legendary priest’s home and talk to members of his family and his school teachers.
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.
After the imposition of martial law in the country in December 1981 and the communist regime’s crackdown on the Solidarity movement, Father Popiełuszko celebrated monthly “Masses for the Homeland” that attracted tens of thousands of people to St. Stanislaus Church in Warsaw.
His homilies were a powerful call for freedom, justice and truth, for remaining faithful to the ideals of Solidarity and for the dignity of the working people.
On 19 October 1984, Father Popiełuszko was abducted, tortured and murdered by secret police officers. He has since been recognised as a martyr by the Catholic Church and was beatified on 6 June 2010.
The stone that was used to kill the priest is placed in the San Bartolomeo all’Isola Church in Rome among the relics of the martyrs of the 20th and 21st centuries.
In 2009, Father Popiełuszko was posthumously awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest state distinction. (mk/gs)