June 12, Bls John Nepomucene (Jan Nepomucen) Chrzan, Francis (Franciszek) Dachtera and Companions

June 12
In the Archdiocese of Gniezno
BLESSED JOHN NEPOMUCENE CHRZAN, FRANCIS DACHTERA, LADISLAUS DEMSKI, STANISLAUS KUBSKI, LADISLAUS MĄCZKOWSKI, MARIAN SKRZYPCZAK, ALEXIUS SOBASZEK, ANTHONY ŚWIADEK, PRESBYTERS, and COMPANIONS, MARTYRS
Obligatory memorial

John Nepomucene (Jan Nepomucen) Chrzan (1885-1942), parish priest in Żerków. During the occupation, heedless of the threat of imprisonment, he devotedly offered pastoral service, for which he was arrested on 6 October 1941 and then deported to the concentration camp in Dachau, where he died due to maltreatment and illness. He passed away on 1 July 1942, saying “Praised be Jesus Christ.”

Francis (Franciszek) Dachtera (1910-1944), prefect of a high school in Bydgoszcz. He was known for his great apostolic zeal and priestly spirituality. Having been arrested on 17 September 1939, he stayed at various prisons and was eventually placed in the concentration camp in Dachau. He died after severe suffering as a victim of pseudo-medical experiments on 22 August 1944. Before dying, he told a friend “God wills it. I agree with His will though the heart is raring to my own.”

Ladislaus (Władysław) Demski (1884-1940), parish priest of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Inowrocław, former professor of classical languages in a secondary school; widely known as “a priest after God’s Heart and real educator.” Arrested on 2 November 1939, he was beaten to death in the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen on 28 May 1940 for having refused to tread on a rosary. He said before death: “All must be suffered for the Lord; we must not complain.”

Stanislaus (Stanisław) Kubski (1876-1942), parish priest of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Inowrocław. In all his pastoral posts he was known for his exceptional zeal and sensitivity to the poorest and unemployed. He was arrested on 2 September 1939 and put in a quarry in Buchenwald, from where he was taken to Dachau. On 18 May 1942, unable to work, he was carried off to be gassed. “He endured all of the sufferings and tortures with a patience of an angel, seeking consolation and relief in prayer. He fortified others with a kind word.”

Ladislaus (Władysław) Mączkowski (1911-1942), administrator of the parish in Łubowo. He was known for a model priestly life and great pastoral zeal. Having been imprisoned on 26 August 1940, he was taken away to Dachau, where he died on 20 August 1942 due to harassment of the guards. By his inmates he was perceived as the example of a meek and dedicated priest who tended to forget himself, bearing in him the light of faith and goodness among the degradation and humiliation of the camp. He would speak to the prisoners of death as a joyous encounter with Christ.

Marian Skrzypczak (1909-1939), vicar of the parish in Płonkowo. After the outbreak of the war, aware of the danger, he stayed in the parish to offer pastoral care. He was murdered on 5 October 1939 in Płonkowo by the Nazi storm-troopers. Falling near the church after the shots of guns he called, “Jesus, have mercy! Forgive them!”

Alexius (Aleksy) Sobaszek (1895-1942), parish priest in Siedlemin, ardent pastor. He was arrested on 6 October 1941 and taken off to Dachau, where he died on 1 August 1942 due torments of the camp. Before death he asked a friend to go to Siedlemin after the liberation and tell his parishioners that “all torments and tortures he suffered in the camp he offered to God for them. That he blesses them all and begs their prayer for his soul.”

Anthony (Antoni) Świadek (1909-1945), chaplain of the youth organisations in Bydgoszcz, priest of an exceptional apostolic zeal. “The love of Mary characterised his entire life.” He was arrested in July 1942 and taken to Dachau. “He was one of those extraordinary priestly souls who by the solace of the spirit, chastity of character and depth of life both attract and intimidate.” He died on 25 January 1945, holding a rosary, due to the prison torments.

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 John Nepomucene, Francis, Ladislaus, Stanislaus, Ladislaus, Marian, Alexius, Anthony, and their 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.

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