February 23, Bl Stephen Vincent (Stefan Wincenty) Frelichowski

February 23
in the Archdiocese of Toruń
BLESSED STEPHEN VINCENT (STEFAN WINCENTY) FRELICHOWSKI, PRESBYTER AND MARTYR
Obligatory memorial

Stephen Vincent (Stefan Wincenty) Frelichowski was born in Chełmża on 22 January 1913. After graduating from the seminary in Pelplin, he was ordained in 1937. After serving as a bishop’s chaplain for a year, he became a vicar of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Toruń, where he came to be known as an excellent chaplain of the young, especially dedicated to those in need. Arrested by the Nazi at the beginning of World War II, he got to a few concentration camps, and was eventually placed in Dachau. He was involved in the lively underground pastoral and charity activities. During the outbreak of typhoid in the camp in 1944, he willingly served ill fellow prisoners. Weak and inhumanly treated by his oppressors, he himself contracted typhoid. He died as a martyr on 23 February 1941.

Common of One Martyr, or of Pastors.

[PDF Version]

OFFICE OF READINGS

SECOND READING

 From Pope John Paul II’s address in Toruń on the day of the beatification of Stephen Vincent Frelichowski
(“L’Osservatore Romano,” Polish Edition, 8/1999, 31-32)
Blessed are the peacemakers

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” The dignity of this designation rightly belongs to Father Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski, raised today to the glory of the altars. His whole life, indeed, is a kind of a mirror that reflects the light of Christ’s philosophy according to which true happiness is attained only by those who, united with God, become people of peace, who make peace and bring peace to others. This priest from Toruń, whose pastoral service lasted less than eight years, bore testimony to his dedication to God and to others. Drawing his sustenance from God, from the very first years of his priesthood, he went with the wealth of his pastoral charism wherever the grace of salvation needed to be taken. He learnt the secrets of the human soul and adapted his pastoral methods to the needs of every person he met. He had acquired this ability from the scouts’ school of sensitivity to the needs of others that he constantly developed in the spirit of the parable of the Good Shepherd who seeks lost sheep and is ready to give up his own life to save them. As a priest, he was always aware of being a witness of a great cause, at the same time serving others with deep humility. Thanks to his goodness, meekness and patience he won many souls over to Christ, even in the face of tragic circumstances of the war and the occupation.
He appeared to be writing the drama of the war with the chapters of his own service of peace. The so-called Fort Seven, Stutthof, Grenzdorf, Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen, and eventually Dachau – were all his Stations of the Cross, during which he remained the same – fearless in performing his priestly duties. He served especially those who needed it most – the ones dying of typhoid, which in the end he himself fell prey to. He dedicated his priestly life to God and to people, bringing peace to the victims of war. He selflessly shared this peace with others, because his soul drew strength from Christ’s peace. It was such great power that even his martyrdom did not manage to destroy the peace.
We welcome with great gratitude the testimony of Blessed Vincent Frelichowski’s life, a hero of our times, a priest and man of peace, as a calling of our generation. I wish to entrust the gift of this beatification particularly to the Church of Toruń so that it may protect and spread the memory of great Divine deeds that occurred in the course of this priest’s short life. I entrust this gift, above all, to the priests of this diocese and of all Poland. Father Vincent Frelichowski wrote at the very beginning of his priestly path, “I have to be a priest in accordance with the Heart of Jesus.” If this beatification is an expression of great gratitude to God for his priesthood, it is also an expression of praise to God for the miracles of his grace which occur through the hands of all priests – through our hands too, dear brothers.[1]

RESPONSORY cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

We were gentle among you,
As a nursing mother cares for her children.

With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us.
As a nursing mother cares for her children.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

O God, Protector and strength of your faithful,
in Blessed Stephen Vincent, presbyter and martyr, you gave a clear sign of pastoral love to the oppressed,
grant graciously that we, thanks to his intercession, may be able to endure the adversities of this life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum. Probatum seu confirmatum, die 7 augusti 1999, Prot. 1774/91/L.


[1] Translated by DChojnacki (2014).

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