Blessed John Francis Macha Beatified

Comments from Homily of Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

Blessed John Francis Macha

Father John Francis Macha became Blessed John Francis on Saturday in Katowice’s Cathedral of Christ the King.

“Faithful to the greatest commandment of the Gospel, the commandment of love, Blessed John Francis Macha, although very young – he was only 28 years old – chose to give his life for the Kingdom of Christ,” said Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in his homily during the beatification of Father John Macha.

A young Polish priest from Upper Silesia was guillotined by the Germans on 3rd December 1942 in Katowice. Almost 79 years after his martyrdom, he was proclaimed blessed in the Cathedral of Christ the King in Katowice.

In the homily, card. Marcello Semeraro referred to the words of the Gospel according to St. John: “If the grain of wheat, fallen into the earth, does not die, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” The papal envoy emphasized that the testimony of Bl. Fr. John Macha “in the history of this Church in Upper Silesia. He too died, just like the grain of wheat: he was killed by a Nazi system full of hatred for those who were sowing good, in order to show the people of today that earthly dominion is passing away, while the Kingdom of Christ—which, as its supreme law, has the commandment of charity” – card. Semeraro said. As he said, even if Fr. Macha died prematurely according to human logic, his hope was full of immortality and peace.

Blessed John Francis MachaThe Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints recalled the biography of the new Blessed. Fr. Jan Macha was baptized two days after his birth on 20th January 1914 in the parish of St. Mary Magdalene in Chorzów Stary. In the same church on 27th June 1939, i.e. a few weeks before the outbreak of World War II, he celebrated his Holy Mass. primitive. In the first days of the war, he became a vicar in the parish of St. Józef in Ruda Śląska.

“From the earliest days of his priesthood, he placed himself at the service of his neighbor, setting out on the road of heroic realization of love, the road that would later lead him to the sacrifice of his life” – emphasized card. Semeraro. The papal envoy noted the dedication of the young Polish priest to help all those wronged by the actions of the German occupiers. As he said, Fr. Macha did not pay attention to national, religious, or social differences.

“In a divided society, where individualism and selfishness seem to assert themselves increasingly due to the lack of authentic relationships and sincere relations, our Blessed reminds us that Christ will judge us on love and on the good we have accomplished” – noted the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. As he recalled, although after the arrest by the Gestapo, Fr. John Macha was persecuted, beaten, and abused, it was in this long-suffering that he “he remained uncompromising in his willingness to imitate the Master, accepting his own condemnation.”

The German death sentence on Fr. Jan Macha was performed on the night of 2nd to 3rd December. A few hours before the guillotine operation, in a letter to his family, the young priest wrote down the words that became his testament: “I have lived for a short time, but I believe I have achieved my goal. Do not despair. All will be well. Although the forest has one less tree, it will still be a forest.” – Jan Franciszek Macha, the new Blessed, like a tree felled at a young age, laid the foundations for the construction of a stable house for future generations, to whom he transmits, with a life sealed with his own blood, a clear message from the Gospel of St. John: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down his life for his friends”, said card. Semeraro.

The papal legate emphasized that today’s ceremony somehow returns Fr. Jan Macha to the Upper Silesian Church. “you are receiving him as a Blessed, as a patron, and an intercessor before the Lord.

​We cannot fail to entrust to the intercession of the new Blessed a particularly heartfelt prayer for seminarians and priests, especially the younger ones,” said card. Semeraro. He also called the faithful to pray through the intercession of Fr. John for the intentions of families and society.

“Accept the invitation of this priest, raised today to the honors of the altars, to open up new spaces to meet young people and to engage them in the service of the Gospel in the different states of Christian life” – said the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He also asked the faithful to take the first steps on the synodal path that Pope Francis had proposed to the Church around the world.

In conclusion, card. Marcello Semeraro encouraged the faithful to imitate the piety of Bl. Fr. Jan Macha. Its unique manifestation was the fact that a young priest, during many months of imprisonment, wove the rosary from pieces of string in order to be able to pray the rosary.

The papal envoy visited the parish of St. Mary Magdalene in Chorzów Stary, with whom the new blessed was associated. Card. Semeraro also went to the symbolic grave of a young priest. The body of Fr. Jan Macha, after being guillotined, most likely was burnt, according to many testimonies at the German camp of Auschwitz.