Commemorating the martyrdom of Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko, on October 19th, we also remember the martyrdom of priests who gave their lives for faith in the times of totalitarianism in the 20th century.
Archbishop Stanisław Budzik recalled how, while he was the Secretary General of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, together with the Episcopate’s Presidency, he met Pope Benedict XVI. During the 40-minute meeting, they gave the Holy Father a book evoking three thousand priests martyred in the 20th century. “These are documented cases of priests who gave their lives for faith in the horrors of the twentieth century. They were victims of two totalitarian regimes, on the one hand, that of Nazi Germany, symbolized by Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, and on the other hand, all the victims who died in the East, as a result of communist repression, symbolized by Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko. Both are representatives of these 3,000 priests who were martyred,” said Archbishop Budzik.
The book with the names of 3,000 Polish priests martyrs, who bore witness to the faith in the times of totalitarianism in the twentieth century, was prepared by the seminarians of the Seminary in Tarnow (the book is available on the seminary website). “They must not be forgotten, rather they must be remembered and their lives documented. The names of many are unknown; the names of some have been denigrated by their persecutors, who tried to add disgrace to martyrdom; the names of others have been concealed by their executioners,” said John Paul II during the Jubilee Year in Rome, on 7 May 2000.
“Today, remembering Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko, we remember the unswerving priests who preached the Gospel, served God and people in the most terrible times and had the courage not only to suffer for the faith but to give what is most dear to men: their lives,” emphasized Archbishop Budzik.