30th Anniversary of Fr. Jerzy’s Martyrdom

Today is the 30th Anniversary of the martyrdom of beloved blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko. On October 19th, 2014 we celebrated the life and martyrdom of Fr. Jerzy that took place in 1984. Brought together by Father Jerzy’s message, comforted by his story and resilient to spread his words. We gathered together today to share the love Father Jerzy would have wanted. With great veneration there was a mass in Father Jerzy’s honor and memory in Jacksonville, Fl. at St. Matthew’s Church. The mass was presided by Bishop Felipe J. Estévez of the Diocese of St. Augustine. Bishop Estévez is no stranger to the struggle and oppositional strong hold of communism as he is from Cuba. He in turn was honored to preside over the mass for blessed Father Jerzy of Poland. The altar was adorned with a wreath of flowers in Fr. Jerzy’s that was dressed with ribbon provided by the Polish community honoring Blessed Fr. Jerzy in Polish. There was a relic of Fr. Jerzy as well. “A relic is a piece of the body of a saint, an item owned or used by the saint, or an object which has been touched to the tomb of a saint.” The walls were decorated with a solidarnosc (solidarity) banner along with similar banners draping across the altar. While the mass was a memorial  for Fr. Jerzy and the the 30th anniversary of his death at the hands of Polish police, it was also a celebration. Fr. Jerzy did not die such a cruel death in vain, his legacy still remains. His stand against the […]

Who was Blessed Father Jerzy Popieluszko

Who was Blessed Father Jerzy Popieluszko? We will tell you about his early life in a later writing.  But as the 30th Anniversary of his martyrdom approaches on October 19th, I wanted to write an overview of this remarkable man and his heroic life in the four years before his murder. From the day he found his voice in 1980, he preached the Good News of the Risen Christ. His sermons, based on his deep love for his country and his faith brought the first hint that freedom was possible in a country that had known nothing but Russia’s one-party rule the last 40 years.. But this talk of personal and political freedom also brought stern warnings from the communist government. For those who attended his services, the potential of a beating or arrest was just outside the doors of his church. And yet the crowds for his once-a-month ‘Masses for The Fatherland’ grew to over 25,000 people. The Secret Police were ordered to stop what the government was calling ‘seances of hate’ and so he was arrested, over and over again, strip searched and humiliated. But after each attempt to scare him he would return to his podium and speak with even more conviction, about non-violence and human rights. By late 1984, the communist government in Poland had heard enough. On October 19, 1984 – 37-year-old Father Jerzy Popieluszko’s call for a non-violent resolution to 40 years of Russian occupation and oppression were silenced by the secret police. He was, kidnapped, gagged, hog-tied and then beaten […]