October 19, Bl George (Jerzy) Popiełuszko

October 19
In the Archdiocese of Warszawa and Dioceses of Legnica, Warszawa-Praga and Military Ordinariate
BLESSED GEORGE POPIEŁUSZKO, PRESBYTER and MARTYR
Optional memorial

George (Jerzy) Popiełuszko was born on 14 September 1947 in the village of Okopy in Podlasie. After having been ordained by Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński on 28 May 1972, he was an ardent pastor of the working class, health service, the poor and persecuted. In 1980-1984 he became known for celebrating “Holy Masses for the fatherland” in St Stanislaus Kostka Church in Żoliborz. In on of the hardest times in the history of Poland (martial law and communism), he embraced all people without exception with his pastoral love, calling on them to reconcile and overcome evil with good. He was murdered on 19 October 1984 for faith and the Church by the officers of the Security Service. Numerous people have visited his tomb since his burial.

Common of One Martyr.

[PDF Version]

OFFICE OF READINGS

SECOND READING

From the writings of Blessed George Popiełuszko
(Rosary meditations [Bydgoszcz, 19 October 1984], in: M. Kindziuk, Świadek Prawdy, Częstochowa 2004, pp. 308-403)
Conquer evil with good (Rm 12:21)

Evil can be conquered only by the one who himself is rich in good, takes care of self-development and adorning themselves with such values that constitute the human dignity of a child of God. Multiplying good and conquering evil means looking after the dignity of a child of God, after one’s own human dignity.

Retaining dignity in order to multiply good and conquer evil means remaining internally free, even in the atmosphere of external slavery, remaining yourself in any situation. As sons of God we cannot be slaves. Our sonship carries with it the heritage of freedom. Freedom is given to man as a dimension of our greatness.

Keeping dignity in order to multiply good and conquer evil means being guided by justice in life. Justice flows from truth and love. The more truth and love there are in man, the more justice they have. Justice must coincide with love, because without love one cannot br fully just. If there is shortage of love and good, it is replaced with hate and violence.

Conquering evil with good means staying faithful to the truth. The truth is a very subtle feature of our minds. Striving for the truth was implanted in man by God Himself, therefore man is naturally oriented at the truth and reluctant to lie. The truth, just like justice, is related to love, and love costs a lot. Real love is sacrificial, therefore the truth must cost a lot as well. The truth always unites and binds people. A Christian’s duty is to stand by the truth, even if it were to cost a lot. The truth must be paid for; only chaff is free. The wheat of truth must at times be paid for.

In order to conquer evil with good, the virtue of fortitude must be taken care of. Fortitude consists in overcoming human weakness, especially fear and fright. A Christian must bear in mind that what they only ought to be fear is betraying Christ for a few pieces of silver of insipid peace. A Christian cannot be satisfied only with condemning evil, lies, cowardice, enslavement, hate, violence, but they must also be a real witness and defender of justice, good, truth, freedom and love.

In order to conquer evil with good and retain human dignity, one cannot fight using violence. Who has not been able to win with heart and mind tries to win with violence. Each manifestation of violence proves moral inferiority. The most excellent and durable battles humankind an history have known are the battles of human thought. Let us pray so that we may be free from fear, intimidation, but above all from the desire to retaliate and be violent. [1]

RESPONSORY Matthew 5:44-45; 48; Luke 6:27

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you.
 That you may be children of your heavenly Father.

Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
That you may be children of your heavenly Father.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

O almighty and eternal God,
in your Providence you made Blessed George, presbyter and martyr, a steadfast witness to the Gospel of love and defender of human dignity,
grant, we beg you, that through his intercession and example we may conquer evil with good by living in true freedom.
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 4 novembris 2010. Prot. 432/10/L.

[1] Translated by DChojnacki (2016).

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