Summer in Warsaw june 27 1982

Warsaw Poland, summer of 1982

Introduction by Paul Hensler: In the summer of 1982 the Council of Religious Affairs requested dates for the second visit of Pope John Paul II to his homeland. The price of the deal was simply this: the Church should keep its distance from Solidarity. The government feared that Father Popieluszko’s following, including all of the solidarity internees, would, upon release head straight for his church and pick up their opposition activities. Department Four, the church monitoring arm chose to scare the priests by flattening tires, following their cars incessantly, bugging their offices and accumulating and manipulating information on the radical priests. This information was delivered to the Religious Council offices with great drama and each time the Council returned a letter saying ‘our priests are not meddling in politics.’ What degree of pressure and harassment on Popieluszko would have positive rather than negative effects? That was the calculation that had to be made in the offices of the Secret Police by ambitious, frustrated men. For any pressure on Church leaders to have a chance of success, Secret Police harassment would have to be carefully paced. Holy Mass for The Fatherland on June 27, 1982 was celebrated by Father Jerzy Popieluszko who delivered the sermon. Opening remarks We are now into the seventh month of the rules of Martial Law. In our homeland thousands are deprived of the liberty and millions continue to suffer. In this month, dedicated to the Heart of Jesus who suffered so much and continues to suffer for justice and peace, we […]

Panoramic view of Warsaw at night in Poland, corpus christi

Sermon on the day of Corpus Christi

Today is the feast of Corpus Christi. In our entire nation Christ in the Eucharist leaves the churches and comes onto the streets to bless the villages and the towns. The feast of Corpus Christi is our opportunity to display to the world our faith in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Faith is one of the three great virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity. The sermon: Faith is the life-spring of the believer. It opens to man the perspectives which he would not otherwise notice. This faith enabled looking ahead into the far distant future, the opening of broader perspectives, leads to accusations that faith takes the believer’s mind away from its earthly surroundings and makes him unresponsive to his earthly, purely human interests. It takes him away from the daily reality in the name of something very distant, uncertain and, for many, frankly unrealistic. Such accusations are made by people who do not fully understand the basic principles of faith. Yet, sadly, these accusations are frequently made by believers, by some who consider themselves to be believers yet who do not practice what they claim to believe. Today we have fewer people who attack faith directly, people who dare to maintain that the Object of our faith, God, does not exist. The philosophical and historic fundamentals of faith are being less frequently undermined because, to a large extent, they have already been proven. Nowadays it is the practical application of faith that is mainly being attacked. There is an attempt to eliminate faith from our […]

Sunday May 30, 1982 – Mass For The Fatherland

(By:Paul Hensler) On Sunday May 30, 1982 Father Jerzy noticed that the congregations had swelled to the to the pre-martial law numbers. People stood on parked cars the length and breadth of Felikiego Street, which adjoins the church boundaries.  A typical father-land Sunday saw young workers, earnest bearded men holding high their small tape- recorders, and out of town priests, (the ultimate compliment, for few priests stray into other parishes on a Sunday) taking notes. The steelworker ushers, wearing black armbands, were officious. Their task was to prevent any provocations that would allow the lurking ZOMO units to intervene. The congregation loved it and responded generously when the collection basket was passed on behalf of political prisoners. Father Popieluszko loved it too. He was proud that anything spontaneous could flourish in the desert of martial law. There was shouting and clapping in response to his sermon proving that there was dignity of prayer, of patriotic feelings. In Warsaw’s Rakowiecka Street, seat of the secret police, nobody was interested in the dignity of prayer. Popieluszko had made the transition in the first months of martial law from being a mild irritant to a first-order problem.  The Warsaw militia were complaining. Popieluszko was a crowd control problem forcing the police to deploy month after month heavy concentrations of riot troopers. To the average ZOMO trooper Popieluszko was the best known priest in Poland not because of his sermons but because he cost them their free Sundays. The message meanwhile reaching Department Four, the clandestine church monitoring department, […]

April 1982 – a tough time in Poland

(By:Paul Hensler) This was a very tough time in Poland as the country and it’s citizens tried continue life under Martial Law. With the increased presence of the militia and army units on the streets the underground was put to good use. Father Jerzy’s message to those who wanted to fight back, to kill communists was “Don’t be afraid, love your enemy – but stick to Solidarity.”  The crowds were with Father Popieluszko, that is, they saw that Solidarity had to be transformed from a clandestine organization into a kind of broad cultural resistance to the regime, a lobby for truth telling in every day life, for individual dignity and a ready supply of assistance to the persecuted. This is clearly evidenced in Father Jerzy’s mass for the fatherland on April 25, 1982. The attendance was not quite as large because the police had set up very narrow road blocks around his church, and if you did not have a permit to attend this church, you were turned away. Many just went around the roadblock or through back yards to get to the church.   April 25 1982 – Father Jerzy’s Road to Sainthood   For the direct link to his sermon for April 25 1982 Click Here