June 12, Bl Anthony Julian (Antoni Julian) Nowowiejski and Companions

June 12
BLESSED ANTHONY JULIAN NOWOWIEJSKI, BISHOP, and COMPANIONS, MARTYRS
Optional memorial
In the Diocese of Toruń – Obligatory memorial

Abp Anthony Julian Nowowiejski, Bishop of Płock, eminent professor of liturgics, historian, organiser of ecclesiastical studies in the recreated Poland, ardent pastor. He was arrested in 1940 with a group of priests of Płock, and then placed in a concentration camp in Działdowo. He died on 28 May 1941 in the camp as a result of continual and sophisticated maltreatment.

Among the 108 martyrs of the Church of Poland from the II World War, there are 3 bishops, 52 diocesan priests, 26 religious priests, 3 seminarians, 7 lay brothers, 8 nuns and 9 laypeople. They bore heroic witness to God’s faithfulness during the times of religious persecution of the Nazi atheism, uniting the sacrifices of their lives with the Saviour’s sacrifice.

Common of Several Martyrs.

OFFICE OF READINGS

SECOND READING

From the bull “Incarnationis Mysterium” of indiction of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.
(13)
Martyrdom as the proof of the truth of the faith

A sign of the truth of Christian love, ageless but especially powerful today, is the memory of the martyrs. Their witness must not be forgotten. They are the ones who have proclaimed the Gospel by giving their lives for love. The martyr, especially in our own days, is a sign of that greater love which sums up all other values. The martyr’s life reflects the extraordinary words uttered by Christ on the Cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). The believer who has seriously pondered his Christian vocation, including what Revelation has to say about the possibility of martyrdom, cannot exclude it from his own life’s horizon. The two thousand years since the birth of Christ are marked by the ever-present witness of the martyrs.

This century now drawing to a close has known very many martyrs, especially because of Nazism, Communism, and racial or tribal conflicts. People from every sector of society have suffered for their faith, paying with their blood for their fidelity to Christ and the Church, or courageously facing interminable years of imprisonment and privations of every kind because they refused to yield to an ideology which had become a pitiless dictatorial regime. From the psychological point of view, martyrdom is the most eloquent proof of the truth of the faith, for faith can give a human face even to the most violent of deaths and show its beauty even in the midst of the most atrocious persecutions.

Filled with grace during the coming Jubilee year, we shall be able with new strength to raise the hymn of thanksgiving to the Father, singing: Te martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus. Yes, this is the host of those who “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 7:14). For this reason the Church in every corner of the earth must remain anchored in the testimony of the martyrs and jealously guard their memory. May the People of God, confirmed in faith by the example of these true champions of every age, language and nation, cross with full confidence the threshold of the Third Millennium. In the hearts of the faithful, may admiration for their martyrdom be matched by the desire to follow their example, with God’s grace, should circumstances require it.

RESPONSORY 

We are warriors now, fighting on the battlefield of faith, and God see all we do; the angels watch and so does Christ.
What honour and glory and joy, to do battle in the presence of God, and to have Christ approve our victory.

Let us arm ourselves in full strength and prepare ourselves for the ultimate struggle with blameless hearts, true faith and unyielding courage.
What honour and glory and joy, to do battle in the presence of God, and to have Christ approve our victory.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

O almighty and eternal God,
you let the blessed martyrs Anthony Julian, Bishop, and his Companions participate in the passion of Christ,
help our weakness with your grace so that we, imitating the martyrs who did not hesitate to die for you, may bravely confess you with our lives.
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 10 iunii 1999. Prot. N. 1201/99/L.

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