Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
Usually when we think of saints, we have in mind holy people of times that even our great grandmothers would not remember. And yet there is a person of our times to be beatified soon. Jerzy Popieluszko was born approximately 60 years ago. He was religious since childhood what in communist regime, during which he became active priest, was not well perceived. His will of fight made him not reach the times when the Poles could enjoy freedom, but it made him remembered among not only his colleagues but the whole nation.
People who knew him as a child, tell the he was the person who liked solitude. Born in 1947, he joined theological seminary at the age of 18. At the beginning of 1980’ he became active member of Solidarity movement, he would say the service during strikes, organize so called ‘Mass for the motherland’ or lead funeral of Grzegorz Przemyk (student beaten to death by communist police). He was very much criticized, by authorities, for his political activeness and was subject to persecutions by police, communist authorities and collaborators, people who surrounded him on daily basis but decided to cooperate with authorities by reporting every step of the priest.
The more people loved Popieluszko, the more he was hated by the authorities. He would get threatening letters, spend night in prison or would be accused of spreading hatred. His supervisors, sensing the danger, tried to make the priest leave Poland to study abroad. Popieluszko, however, refused to leave.
In October 1984, when Jerzy Popieluszkowas on the way to Warsaw from Bydgoszcz where he conducted the mass, his car was stopped. The personal driver managed to run away but Popieluszko was tied and placed in the car boot. His body was found 10 days later in the Vistula river in Wloclawek. It had the signs of tortures. Till now it is not proved when exactly Jerzy Popieluszko was murdered and the trial against his torturers lasted many years (and did not bring expected results).
Jerzy Popieluszko is still very lively remembered in Poland. His case and his virtues are widely known in the country, also thanks to 2 films that were based on his story. He always taught to love others, even when they hate you, and not to look for revenge. Popieluszko is remembered as charismatic priest, national hero of communist Poland. Now he is to be announced a blessed one,