Celebration of the 21st anniversary of Fr Popieluszko's death


Milena Kindziuk

The atmosphere reminded us of the papal mood, which we knew in April and then October days. Candles were burning everywhere. There were also flowers. People prayed, meditated and sang 'Barka' (Boat). And in his homily the Primate focused on the analogy between the testimony of John Paul II's life and Fr Jerzy Popieluszko's life. Marianna Popieluszko, today 85 year old mother of Father Jerzy, wearing a grey coat and yellow scarf, prayed at his grave, as usual every year, and now on the 21st anniversary of her son's heroic death. At the Mass in Warsaw-Zoliborz she sat surrounded by her family and crowds of people who had been arriving several hours before the beginning of the celebration. They were pondering over his death, expressing their special relationships with this place. People paid the debt of gratitude for Father Jerzy who had prayed with them and for them. Now they wanted to pray for him. And they asked him to intercede for them.
They welcomed with joy the words of Poland's Primate concerning the coming beatification of Father Jerzy. 'I deeply believe that the beatification process of Fr Popieluszko, which was completed in its canonical form, will soon show the richness of the good that was closed in the coffin and rested there surrounded with great beads of the stone rosary', Cardinal Glemp said, And although we hear people say that not everything is certain, one thing is sure: martyrdom of Father Jerzy', the Primate added.
Fr Zygmunt Malacki, parish priest of St Stanislaw Kostka's Church in Warsaw, expressed his appreciation for the authorities and parliament members who came to Mass and who gathered for the first meeting in the Parliament on 19th October, which is exactly on the anniversary of Father Jerzy's death. 'We believe that the newly elected Parliament (Sejm) will make the Poles' dream about Poland come true and that the Parliament will be solidary with the nation, showing care for its good and dignity of every human being', Fr Malacki said.
The speech of Lech Kaczynki, President of Warsaw, was thunderously applauded. 'We want to fight for the truth because as it turns out the truth is a scarcity in free Poland, too', he said. He reminded us that the truth about the murder of the Priest and Martyr had not been fully explained. 'In the presence of Father Jerzy's mother I would like to say that I will do my best to explain the matter. Not in the name of revenge but in the name of the truth and justice', Kaczynski promised.
At the Mass there were Stanislaw Kedziora, auxiliary bishop of Warszawa-Praga, Fr Grzegorz Kalwarczyk, Fr Kazimierz Gniedziejko, cousin of Fr Popieluszko, Fr Hieronim Srednicki, Waldemar Chrostowski, who had been with Fr Popieluszko when he had been kidnapped by the secret police, as well as members of the Sejm and Senate from the Parties: PiS, PO and LPR, and several dozens of colours of the Trade Union 'Solidarnosc' from all over Poland. The Solidarity of the Mazowsze Region gave Marianna Popieluszko a jubilee medal 'S', expressing a high honour for the gift of Father Jerzy's life.
After the celebration people prayed for a long time and lit candles around the Zoliborz church although it was severely cold. And when all people left the place and it was empty, there was still one person visible among burning candles, namely the parish priest Fr Malacki. With his head bowed, wearing a black autumn coat he was standing alone at the grave of his seminary colleague Jerzy Popieluszko.

"Niedziela" 44/2005

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl