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Poland pays tribute to slain 'Solidarity priest' Popiełuszko

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 19.10.2015 08:38
Polish President Andrzej Duda leads tributes marking the 31st anniversary of the killing of Solidarity priest, Father Jerzy Popiełuszko by communist secret police agents.
Father Jerzy Popiełuszko. Photo: wikimedia commonsFather Jerzy Popiełuszko. Photo: wikimedia commons

President Duda will take part in a mass on Monday night, after which he will lay flowers at the priest's grave.

Five years ago Father Popiełuszko was declared the Blessed of the Roman Catholic Church, with the beatification marking his first step to sainthood. Father Popiełuszko’s canonization process began earlier this year.

Father Popieluszko, who was one of the chaplains of the Solidarity trade union and spoke in the defence of freedom and human rights from his Warsaw church, became a beacon of hope following the imposition of martial law in December 1981.

On 19 October 1984 he was abducted by three secret police officers on his way back to Warsaw from the northern town of Bydgoszcz and subsequently murdered. His funeral, on 3 November, turned into a big patriotic demonstration.

Father Popiełuszko’s grave, close to St Stanislaus’ Church in Warsaw where he celebrated his ‘Masses for the Homeland’, has been visited by over 20 million pilgrims from all over the world. They have included two popes – John Paul II and Benedict XVI, US President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the Prince of Wales.

Polish Television airs tonight an American documentary entitled “Jerzy Popieluszko. Messenger of the Truth”. Based on the book “The Priest and the Policeman” by John Moody and Roger Boyes, it was directed by Tony Haines and written and produced by Paul Hensler, who began his career in Hollywood working on films such as “Apocalypse Now” and “The Deer Hunter”.

The first ever documentary about Father Popiełuszko made outside Poland, it is being promoted with the words of Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York: “A must-see documentary for all who believe in the rights of religious liberty and those who are lovers of freedom and defenders of truth”. (mk/nh/rk)

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