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

Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Fr. Kolbe Hero of a Death Camp Relics Moved

Father Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish priest who died as prisoner 16770 in Auschwitz, on August 14, 1941. He volunteered to take the place of another inmate. In order to save the other inmate he said I am a Catholic priest from Poland; I would like to take his place, because he has a wife and children.’ The German soldiers took him up on his offer. He consistently waited until the other prisoners received help before asking for any for himself. His destiny for martyrdom began many years before when as a child he remembered after he had gotten in trouble. ‘That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.’  These words would end up being a foreshadowing of his life many years later. Fr. Kolbe led his fellow prisoners in prayer to the Holy Mother Mary until his death. Some have even said the prison camp at time resembled church as the men awaited their fate. He provided a source of light in a brutally dark and cruel place. He spent two weeks in a cell of death, being starved along with nine other prisoners. He was finally given a lethal injection of carbolic acid on 14 August 1941. […]

March 31, 2015 – A look back

On December 13, 1981, Communist Party Leader, General Wojciech Jaruzelski declared war on his own country. The first weeks of martial law were dark days in Poland, and information was power. The authorities were rigidly censoring all reports of unrest, of resistance in the heavy industrial fortresses at the Gdansk shipyards, the Silesian mines and the massive steel mills in Warsaw and Katowice. Nine miners protesting martial law were shot dead at the Wujek mine. Many more anti martial law protesters were killed and injured all over the country.   Father Popieluszko’s priestly duty was to mix with the injured and the unemployed. In doing so he met with Solidarity fugitives who were planning to move their opposition network completely “underground.” Those men on the run and their families that were left behind in a Communist police state needed material assistance. They had to change apartments every night, had to be clothed, fed, given access to supplies like printing machines, paper and safe phones. Father Popieluszko made his choice. He would try and make the Catholic Church a bridge between the underground and the daily life on the streets of Warsaw.His own church would be a meeting place of patriots: Poles who wanted to restore a sovereign, democratic nation. The pastor of St. Stanislaw Kostka church, Father Teofil Bogucki, had revived the tradition of the masses for the fatherland in October 1981, and his rough tongue and brassy phrasing had found an interested congregation. When Father Popieluszko took over the masses after the imposition of […]