Today the testimony of Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko must resound anew. As he preached the truth of God, he posed a danger to the communist system. Fr. Jerzy was murdered and drowned in the Vistula River. However, on the level of faith, he is victorious and intercedes for us,” says Archbishop Waclaw Depo, Metropolitan of Czestochowa, who granted honorary patronage to the First Congress of Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko, taking place on September 16-17 at Jasna Gora, Czestochowa.
The Archbishop stresses the importance of the testimony of Polish martyrs of the 20th century. A special place among them is held by Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko, who persistently preached the principle to overcome evil with good. Fr. Jerzy’s last publicly spoken words were: “Let us pray that we will be free from fear, intimidation, but above all from the urge for revenge and violence.”
Archbishop Depo reminds us that many priests, including bishops were in the group of the 108 Blessed Polish Martyrs of World War II. “I emphasize this because the unity of priests with the faithful as witnesses to the faith is a fundamental task of our generation,” he noted.
September 14 marked the 75th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko. This date was an inspiration to organize the first edition of the Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko Congress on September 16 and 17.
The purpose of the Congress is to popularize the teaching of Fr. Jerzy among young people and those who did not know him during his lifetime. At the same time, it is an event marking the beginning of the 40th Jubilee Pilgrimage of Working People to Jasna Gora. First such a pilgrimage was organized by Fr. Popieluszko in 1983.
The two-day Congress includes two debates and 12 thematic panels. More than 70 representatives of various environments will participate as participants and moderators in the debates. The Congress will conclude with the signing of the Charter of the Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko Congress, which is a pledge for participants to promote the teachings of the Polish Martyr.
The organizer of the First Congress of Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko is the Pomeranian Association Common Europe from Gdansk, in cooperation with the Media Institute Foundation.
Detailed information on the Congress program is available at www.xjerzy.pl.
Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko (1947-1984) was a Warsaw priest who helped many people find God in the difficult times of communism and persecution of believers. From 1982, he celebrated Masses for Poland, gathering crowds of the faithful. Because of his defense of Christian principles, freedom, and justice, he became an object of hostility by Poland’s communist authorities. Harassed and intimidated, he remained steadfast, and on October 19, 1984, he was kidnapped by Security Service officers in Gorsk near Torun and murdered. His body was thrown into the Vistula River. His grave at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Warsaw became a place of cult and a destination for pilgrimages from Poland and abroad. On June 6, 2010, Fr. Popieluszko was beatified by Archbishop Angelo Amato on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI.