Thought for the Day – 19 October – “One doesn’t suffer when one suffers for Christ”

Thought for the Day – 19 October – The Memorial of Bl Jerzy Popiełuszko (1947-1984) Priest and Martyr

This beloved and unassuming young priest of Poland was a true hero of that tortured land during the Soviet Communist occupation.   Now a Blessed, Father Jerzy was beloved by everyone in his homeland, believers and non-believers alike, because of his bravery in the face of extreme hatred on the part of the Communist officials.   His story should be much more widely known than it is.

Never in good health, the strongest part of Father Jerzy were his hands.   His most beloved possessions were the crucifix and Rosary sent to him by St Pope John Paul II, a fellow countryman.   He was sickly his whole life, yet he never complained of illness or injury.   One day, when he was making toys with his brothers and sisters, a nail pierced his palm. Later, one of the children noticed blood dripping from his hand.   One of his siblings told the parents because young Jerzy did not want to bother anyone.

Young Jerzy’s great hero was Saint Maximillian Kolbe, another Polish priest who gave his life to save another prisoner – a man with a family – at Auschwitz.   He determined early on to become a priest but kept it a secret so that the authorities could not alter his examination results or pressure the family to keep him out of the seminary.

In 1966, his entire seminary class was drafted into the special indoctrination unit in violation of a church-state agreement.   This cruel treatment was reserved for the most outspoken church leaders, including the future St Pope John Paul II.

The horrible treatment he received in this “special unit” broke his health but not his spirit.   He wrote to his father “It turned out to be very tough but I can’t be broken by threats or torture.”   His seminary professors demanded that he take a period of rest but he refused.   “One doesn’t suffer when one suffers for Christ,” was his reply.

St Pope John Paul said, on his apostolic journey to Poland in 1999:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:10).

“Our century too has written a great martyrology.   I myself, in the course of the twenty years of my papacy, have raised to the glory of the altars many groups of martyrs: Japonese, French, Vietnamese, Spanish, Mexican.   And how many martyrs there were during the time of the Second World War and under Communist totalitarianism!   They suffered and gave their lives in the death camps of Hitler or those of the Soviets.   In a few days, in Warsaw, I will beatify 108 martyrs who gave their lives for the faith in the concentration camps.   Now is the time to remember all these victims and to grant them the honour which is their due.   These are “the martyrs, many of them nameless, ‘unknown soldiers’ as it were of God’s great cause”, as I wrote in the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (No. 37).   And it is good that we speak of them in Poland, since this country had a special role in this contemporary martyrology.   It is good that we speak of them in Bydgoszcz!   All gave testimony of fidelity to Christ in spite of sufferings which horrify us by their cruelty.   Their blood was poured out on our land and made it fertile for growth and for the harvest.   That same blood continues to bring forth fruit a hundredfold for our nation, which perseveres faithfully alongside Christ and the Gospel.   Let us persevere unceasingly in union with them.   Let us thank God that they emerged victorious from their labours:   “God … tried them like gold in the furnace, and like a sacrificial offering he accepted them” (Wis 3:6).   They represent for us a model to be followed.   From their blood we ought to draw strength for the sacrifice of our own life, which we must offer to God each day.   They are an example for us, so that, like them, we may give a courageous witness of fidelity to the Cross of Christ.

4. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you … on my account” (Mt 5:11).

Christ does not promise an easy life to those who follow Him.   Instead, He proclaims that, by living according to the Gospel, they are to become a sign of contradiction.   If He Himself suffered persecution, so too will His disciples:   “Beware of men”, he says, “for they will deliver you up to councils and flog you in their synagogues” (Mt 10:17).

Dear Brothers and Sisters!   Every Christian, united to Christ through the grace of Holy Baptism, has become a member of the Church and “no longer is his own” (cf. 1 Cor 6:19) but belongs to the one who died and rose for our sake.   From that moment on, the baptised enter into a particular bond of community with Christ and His Church.   They, therefore, have the duty of professing before others the faith they have received from God through the Church.   At times this demands great sacrifice on our part, to be offered each day and sometimes for an entire lifetime.   This firm perseverance alongside Christ and His Gospel, this readiness to face “sufferings for righteousness’ sake”, often involve acts of heroism and can take the form of an authentic martyrdom, carried out every day and at every moment of life, drop by drop, until the final “it is finished”.” – Homily in Bydgoszcz – Monday, 7 June 1999 (Excerpt)

The enemies of Christ rule Poland no more!

Blessed Jerzy, Pray, for us!one doesn't suffer when one suffers for christ bl jerzy pray for us 19 oct 2019.jpg


Quote/s of the Day – 19 October – Truth!

Quote/s of the Day – 19 October – The Memorial of Bl Jerzy Popiełuszko (1947-1984) Priest and Martyr

”To live in Truth
is the basic minimum of human dignity,
even if the price to defend the Truth could be costly.
You need to always remain faithful to the Truth.
Truth can never be betrayed.”to-live-in-truth-bl-jerzy-popieluszko-19-oct-2018 and 2019.jpg

“Truth never changes.
It cannot be destroyed
by any decision or legal act.
Telling the truth with courage,
is a way, leading directly to freedom.
A man who tells the Truth,
is a free man,
despite external slavery, imprisonment or custody.”truth never changes - bl jerzy 19 oct 2019.jpg

“It is not enough for a Christian to condemn evil, cowardice, lies
and use of force, hatred and oppression.
He must at all times be a witness to
and defender of justice, goodness, truth, freedom and love.
He must never tire of claiming these values
as a right both for himself and others.”it is not enough for a christian to dondemn - bl jerzy - 19 oct 2019.jpg

“Truth, like Justice,
is connected to Love
and Love has a Price.”truth-like-justice-bl-jerzy-popieluszko-19-oct-2018 and 2019.jpg

“An idea which needs
rifles to survive,
dies of its own accord.”

Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko (1947-1984) Martyran idea which needs rifles to survive - bl jerzy 19 oct 2019.jpg


One Minute Reflection – 19 October – ‘If necessary, even to die for the truth.’

One Minute Reflection – 19 October – Saturday of the Twenty-eighth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 12:8-12 and The Memorial of Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko (1947-1984) Priest and Martyr

“And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also, will acknowledge before the angels of God…” … Luke 12:8

REFLECTION  – “It seems to me that in the history of the Church, in the history of Christianity, there are many examples showing to what extent you have to defend the Truth.   You have to defend it to the end.   Jesus Christ sacrificed His life in order to announce His Divine Truth.   Likewise, the apostles sacrificed their lives.   Therefore, the role of the priest is to proclaim the Truth and suffer for the Truth…… If necessary, even to die for the truth.   Such examples are plenty in Christianity and from these examples, we should draw conclusions, for ourselves.” … Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko (1947-1984) Priest and Martyrluke 12 8 and i tell you everyone who acknowledges me - the role of the priest - bl jerzy 19 oct 2019

PRAYER – God of power and mercy, You gave Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, the grace to overcome the sufferings of his nation through the good of the Gospel and to face his own martyrdom with unfailing courage through Your love for him, grant us, who celebrate his victory, that the power of Your protecting hand may keep us unshaken in the face of our ancient enemy and all his hidden snares.   Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, pray for us! Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with our Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, jerzy popiesluscko pray for us 19 oct 2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 19 October – Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko (1947-1984) Priest and Martyr

Saint of the Day – 19 October – Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko (1947-1984) Priest and Martyr, Worker for Social Justice – born on 14 September 1947 in Okopy, Podlaskie, Poland, was kidnapped on 19 October 1984 by the Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa (Security Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs), the Communist Polish secret police and beaten to death from 19 to 20 October 1984 near Wloclawek, Pomorskie, Poland.   Patronage – jerzy snip

Fr Jerzy was born on 14 September 1947 in Okopy near Suchowola.   After finishing school, he attended the priests’ seminary at Warsaw.   He served his army duties in a special force, aimed to keep young men from becoming priests.   This treatment had no effect on Popiełuszko, as, after finishing his army service, he continued his studies.   As a young priest he served in parishes in Warsaw, which consisted of the common people as well as students.   In 1981, Jerzy Popiełuszko joined the workers, taking part in strikes in the Warsaw Steelworks.   Thereafter, he was associated with workers and trade unionists from the Solidarity movement who opposed the Communist regime in Poland.

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He was a staunch anti-communist and in his sermons, interwove spiritual exhortations with political messages, criticising the Communist system and motivating people to protest. During the period of martial law the Catholic Church was the only force that could voice protest comparatively openly, with the regular celebration of Mass presenting opportunities for public gatherings in jerzy popieluszko.2.jpg

Popiełuszko’s sermons were routinely broadcast by Radio Free Europe, and thus became famous throughout Poland for their uncompromising stance against the regime.   The swecret police tried to silence or intimidate him.   When those techniques did not work, they fabricated evidence against him, he was arrested in 1983 but soon released on intervention of the clergy and pardoned by an jerzy snip 2 overcome evil with good.JPG

A car accident was set up to kill Jerzy Popiełuszko on 13 October 1984 but he evaded it. The alternative plan was to kidnap him, it was carried out on 19 October 1984.   The priest was beaten to death by three Security Police officers – Captain Grzegorz Piotrowski, Leszek Pękala, and Waldemar Chmielewski.   They pretended to have problems with their car and flagged down Fr Jerzy’s car for help.   They proceeded to attack him – he was severely beaten – to death, tied up and put in the trunk of the car.  The officers bound a stone to his feet and dropped him into the Vistula Water Reservoir near Włocławek from where his body was recovered on 30 October 1984.

Blessed Jerzy’s almost unrecognisable battered body

News of the political murder caused an uproar throughout Poland and the murderers and one of their superiors, Colonel Adam Pietruszka, were convicted of the crime.   More than 250,000 people, including Lech Wałęsa, attended his funeral on 3 November 1984. Despite the murder and its repercussions, the Communist regime remained in power until 1989.  Fr Jerzy’s murderers – Captain Grzegorz Piotrowski, Leszek Pękala, Waldemar Chmielewski and Colonel Adam Pietruszka, responsible for giving the order to kill – were jailed but released later as part of an amnesty.

Popiełuszko was posthumously awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest decoration, in 2009.   After death, he was buried in St Stanislaus Kostka Church, Warsaw where millions of visitors had paid tribute at his tomb.

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He was Beatified by Archbishop Angelo Amato as the representative of Pope Bernedict XVI on 6 June 2010 in Warsaw’s Piłsudski Square.   His mother, Marianna Popiełuszko was present at the event.   More than 1 000,000 people attended the open-air mass in the Polish capital Warsaw to beatify Father Jerzy Popieluszko.   Poland Post issued a set of stamps on that same day to mark the beatification.

bl jerzy's mom at the beatification
Blessed Jerzy’s Mother

canonisation bl jerzy

In October 2013, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz – the Archbishop of Warsaw, the diocese where Popiełuszko was killed – announced that a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Polish priest has been identified and confirmed in France.   Thus Cardinal Nycz predicts that Popiełuszko will likely be canonised soon based on the credibility of the case presented.   A miracle was investigated in a diocesan process in France and the results of that investigation turned over to the Vatican for assessment.

At his funeral, an estimated one million people surrounded his church in Warsaw and as one, they promised to continue his struggle for freedom through non-violence thus living his motto “overcome evil with good” and we know that they won!

“Rest in peace, Father Jerzy.   Solidarity is alive because you gave your life for it.”

Lech Wałęsa

bl jerzy art

bl jerzy holy card




Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 18 October – St Justus of Beauvais (c 278—c 287) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 18 October – St Justus of Beauvais (c 278—c 287) Martyr, child of nine – born in c 278 at Auxerre, France and died by being beheaded in c 287 at Beauvais, France.   He is a Cephalophores._justus.jpg

While on a trip with his father to Amiens to ransom or rescue an imprisoned relative during the persecutions of Diocletian, he was denounced as a Christian.   He was executed for confessing that he was a Christian and for refusing to give away the hiding place of his father and uncle.

After he was beheaded, Justus’ body then picked up the severed head and continued to speak.   Justus is thus one of the legendary cephalophores, the saintly “head-carriers” who miraculously continued to speak or move despite being decapitated.   This legend was elaborated in subsequent centuries and stated that the headless boy managed to convert pagan onlookers.

This miraculous act is said to have happened in a spot between Beauvais and Senlis now named after him – Saint-Just-en-Chaussée.

St Justus the Cephalophores by Peter Paul Rubens

Veneration for Justus was widespread in France, Belgium and Switzerland –where places named Saint-Just refer to him and his cult spread to England as well.   Winchester claimed some of his relics from the 10th century.   In England the Annales monasterii de Wintonia reports that in 924 Athelstan donated to the treasury of Winchester the head of this martyr.   It is possible that this may not have been the entire head but just a fragment of it, according to one scholar.   In the first half of the 11th century, the diocese of Chur in Switzerland received his relics as well.  In England the Annales monasterii de Wintonia reports that in 924 Athelstan donated to the treasury of Winchester the head of this martyr.   It is possible that this may not have been the entire head but just a fragment of it, according to one scholar.  Additionally, the abbey of Malmédy in Belgium asserted that at the beginning of 10th century a monk there, had acquired – at a good price – the body of Justus.   Saint-Riquier also claimed his body.

Franciscans brought an additional relic of Justus to Zutphen around 1450 when they established themselves there.   A confraternity dedicated to Ewald and Justus was established in 1454.   His feast is celebrated on the 11th of October there.401px-Triest_Kathedrale_-_St.Justus_Apsis_2

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, YouTube Videos

Feast of St Luke and Memorials of the Saints – 18 October

St Luke the Evangelist (Feast)
St Luke here:

St Acutius of Pozzuoli
St Asclepiades of Antioch
St Brothen
Bl Burchard I
St Cadwaladr of Brittany
Bl Domenico of Perpignano
St Eutychius of Pozzuoli
St Gwen
St Gwen of Tagarth
St Gwendoline
St Isaac Jogues
St Julian the Hermit
St Justus of Beauvais (c 278—c 287) Child of nine
Bl Margherita Tornielli
St Monon of Nassogne
St Proculus of Pozzuoli
Bl Theobald of Narbonna
St Tryphonia of Rome

Martyrs of Africa – 9 saints: A group of Christians martryed together in Africa. The only details that have survived are the names – Beresus, Dasius, Faustinus, Leucius, Lucius, Martialis, Victoricus, Victrix and Viktor. They were martyred in c.300 in Africa.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Alfredo Almunia López-Teruel
• Blessed Francisco Roselló Hernández
• Blessed Isidro Juan Martínez

Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, MARTYRS, One Minute Reflection, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on TRADITION, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 17 October – Tradition stands, the Faith dies.

One Minute Reflection – 17 October – Thursday of the Twenty-eighth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 11:47–54 and the Memorial of St Ignatius of Antioch (c 35 – 107) Father of the Church, Martyr

“Woe to you! for you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed.” … Luke 11:47

REFLECTION – ” The biggest sin of the Pharisees is that they persecute and even kill the messengers God has sent to purify and reform their religion.  They are so caught up in the rut of their traditions, that they cannot heed or tolerate the voice of the prophets. They stone the present prophets and build monuments to the ancient ones.
Often we too make the same mistakes.
We are keen in preserving the names of great people who lived among us.   We may even build monuments to their memory.   But we fail to imbibe and live by their spirit.   It is surprising how the creative spirit of a religious tradition can die in the hands of those who are faithfully seeking to preserve the tradition itself – the tradition stands, the faith dies.
That is what happened to the Pharisees of Jesus’ time and it is happening to us as well.” … Fr Joseph Thena SSPwoe to you scribes luke 11 47 - gods word fr joseph thena - tradition stands faith dies - 17 oct 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, grant that I may believe what I have learned, never presuming to know better than the teachings of Holy Mother Church and that I may put into practice what I believe.   Let my commitment be like unto the Martyr, St Ignatius of Antioch, who went with joy to his horrific death, for the faith in Christ, Your Son, God with You and the Holy Spirit.   St Ignatius, pray for us, ignatius of antioch pray for us - 17 oct 2017.jpg