Bl. Jerzy Popieluszko (1947-1984)
Priest and Martyr
The Eucharist sums up all the teaching, passion and death of Jesus. Luke's passion narrative is about the Lamb, who goes to his death rejecting violence, loving enemies, returning good for evil, praying for his persecutors. The Eucharist, therefore, is truly the sacrament of nonviolence. The way of Jesus to conquer evil and violence must be the Christian way: the way of nonviolence, of love and forgiveness. The nonviolent way of Jesus is historically at the heart of his teaching, and at the same time at the heart of his passion and death.
Man of the Eucharist and Martyr for the Truth
This Eucharistic reality was lived out in the life of a young Polish priest, Fr Jerzy Popieluszko (1947-1984) who will be beatified as a martyr on the feast of Corpus Christi, 6 June 2010, in Warsaw's Pilsudski Square. Jerzy Popieluszko was born on 14 September 1947 in the village of Okopy in Eastern Poland. He was from a strong Roman Catholic family. After secondary school, Jerzy entered the seminary in Warsaw, rather than the local seminary in Bialystok. His training was interrupted by two years of military service, during which he was beaten several times for living his Christian faith.
After ordination, the young priest, who never enjoyed good health, held several appointments before his final appointment to the parish of St Stanislas Kostka in Warsaw. He worked part-time in the parish, which enabled him to work as well with medical personnel. As a result of his close work with health care personnel, he was asked to organize the medical teams during Pope John Paul II's visits to Poland in 1979 and Warsaw in 1983.
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