Introduction by Paul Hensler:
As the summer of 1982 bore down on Warsaw word began to spread about a young priest speaking about a forbidden topic, freedom.
The reaction to his first four sermons at the monthly Mass for The Fatherland brought so many people to his church that the overflow was forced into the streets. This was highly illegal, without the appropriate city permits. Also in these huge crowds was the Secret Police, who mixed into the crowds and began recording his sermons. That summer the Council For Religious Affairs had two official complaints about Father Popieluszko. Typical of the written protests was a letter by Minister Lopatka to the church leadership; “Father Popieluszko’s attitude, as well as the atmosphere he created, changed a religious gathering into a political demonstration, threatening law and order in the capital.” This, said the minister, contributed “toward increasing alarm among the public and excited rowdy individuals.” Unless church authorities acted against Popieluszko and priests like him, it would be regarded as sharing responsibility for the collapse of public order.
Because of the increasing pressure from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Holy Mass for The Fatherland on July 25, 1982 was concelebrated by Monsignor Teofil Bogucki and Father Popieluszko with Monsignor Bogucki delivering the sermon.
I heartily welcome everyone whose faith in God and love for Country brought here because this is what we had in mind introducing a year ago, this High Mass, offered for the glory of God and the Good of Our Country. No other motives propelled us, only and exclusively the good of our Country which is for us our mother ever more precious when troubled, sad and in mourning. We do not wish to hurt anyone’s feelings, but let us be allowed to love our Country and to pray for it. Hence, our joy that the Holy Mass for our Homeland was so enthusiastically received by our citizens. It shows that the well being of the Nation is in all our hearts. At the same time, it encourages us to bring to the Lord, with even greater diligence, our supplications for everything which is connected with the word Fatherland and all that makes Poland what it is. Today we want to, in a special way, ask for God and your prayers to remember those of our brothers who, for the good and for the salvation of our Nation, died or lost their health.
We stand before the Lord in deep sorrow and pain.