December 13th, 1981

My mom woke me up. It was unusually quiet, even for a frosty winter morning Sunday. She looked very worried. I could tell she was not trying to panic and keep calm, but something was definitely wrong. She looked at me, as figuring out, how to break the news, and in a serious tone of voice announced: “I think, there is a war”.

ok_002954

photo from "The Solidarity phenomenon"

“War?!!! But… I am so young…there could not be a war, I have to live my life first…” these were my very first thoughts, and I don’t even remember if I said it out loud. Thousands of streaming thoughts were piercing my mind. “War? Like in 1939, when Nazis invaded? Did the Russians cross our borders? Would they be so arrogant and insolent? Are the other Warsaw Pact allies with them? Will they occupy, close the schools, churches? Are they arresting, killing, torturing people? Do I have anything in the house that I should worry about? Any underground bulletins, anti-communist brochures?” I prayed something like: “Oh God, help us”

After few moments we realized that we were cut off from the world. Although living in a popular communist version of apartment complex (bloki), there was silence, like never before. TV (those two channels that we had then) did not transmit anything. Only sadly torturing Chopin pieces in the radio.

I was walking from window to window. No people outside, neither on the balconies or by the windows. Fear invaded not only our country, but now my little apartment, my future, my imagination. “Revenge”, I thought. “We crossed the line, THEY had to do something about it. This is it “.

4

Then we’ve heard an announcement on TV. Our general, Jaruzelski, with a typical monotony proclaimed “State of War” (Stan wojenny). Military coup. No traveling. No school for some time. No social meetings. Evening curfew. Telephone conversations censored. Restrictions. Choking up the leftover dreams for something better than this undignified existence.

I went to church. On the streets some armored vehicles, some ZOMO guys warming their hands over the street fires.

During the Mass solemn prayers. Thousands came. It seemed that everybody wanted to check out, if we will give up, if THEY will win. Some were crying, some devastated, many confused, many in rage.

This was my birthday. Not a happy one. I did not have a party. My sweet 16…

mini_czas_apokalipsy

famous iconic photo taken by Chris Niedenthal, Newsweek reporter: armored vehicle standing by the movie theatre “Moscow”, and the movie being advertised is “Apocalypse now” by Francis Copolla who was inspired by Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of darkness”


how to raise a saint and a martyr in the heart of Europe today

In just few hours Marianna Popieluszko will be present at the Mass for the Beatification of her son, father Jerzy Popieluszko (Yeh-zhee  Poh-pye-woosh-koh), who was murdered over 25 years ago. She will carry the relics of her own son to the altar.

Father Jerzy Popieluszko was a Solidarity chaplain and became a spiritual leader of those who were pursuing non-violent liberation of Poland from Communism. You can read father Jerzy’s story in many places now, but I wanted to find more about his upbringing, childhood and the role of his parents in raising a present day saint and martyr.

These are few nuggets that I found around the web, mostly from his mom’s interviews.

Father Jerzy’s family lived in a small village Okopy in the far East of Poland, which is almost exactly the geographical center of Europe. His parents were peasants, lived simply and were very devout Catholics, as most of Poles in that region. When Marianna was pregnant with her son, she consecrated him to the glory of God and to Mary, and prayed that he will become a priest one day. She says that she doesn’t know if her prayers were answered, or maybe someone else’s prayerful petitions, but Jerzy, born on the Feast of the Cross, became a priest.

“God gives grace, and if a person responds to it, and walks God’s way, he will receive this grace.”

Since his childhood, Jerzy was fascinated by priesthood. He would walk 5km (3 miles) daily before the school to serve as an altar boy at the Holy Mass, and after school he went to church to pray Rosary. People thought that he was to spiritual. His mom was told by the elementary school principal that Jerzy spends to much time in church.

“After seventh grade he wanted to join lower seminary in Niepokalanow (Maximilan Kolbe’s City of the Immaculate), but I told him that he was to young then. When his friends finished high school and were celebrating the High Scholl Ball – he took the train to Warsaw for the seminary. I was happy when he became priest and I was praying constantly that he will be faithful to God, because this is the most important thing in life”.

She was teaching her children daily how to pray, kneeling before the small home altar with the figure of the Holy Mother. On Wednesdays – they prayed to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, on Fridays – to the Heart of Jesus, on Saturdays – to Black Madonna of Czestochowa. In May the whole family would recite Litany of the Blessed Virgin, in July – Litany to the Blood of Jesus, in October and throughout the rest of the year – the Rosary. During the storms she would lit a candle and pray.

“His first seminary was in his home.”

“He was a nice, obedient child, but every child can be that way, if parents will keep them straight. All my children were the same. I did not punish them, there was no hitting, just very stern words: You have to do it!
My kids were not into mischief. Whoever prays well, this person has no place for silliness in life.”

“Death of Jerzy for me is like a stone for my whole life. It is a great pain. This wound is opening over and over, for who can forget such a thing. But I do not judge no one, and I do not demand no one’s death. God Himself will judge them one day. And the murderer’s will have to bare their penance. But I ask Jesus to forgive them. I would be the most happy if they would come to God.”

John Paul II concluded meeting with Marianna: “Mother, you have given us a great son”. And she responded, suprising even the pope: “Holy Father, I did not give him, but God has given him to the world through me. I gave him to the Church and I can’t take him back.” The Pope kissed her and hugged her.

What is the most important thing in life?

“To be faithful to God and, as much as one can, to serve others.

She feels his presence.

“Once my legs were hurting me greatly and I should go for surgery. When I came to the grave of father Jerzy, the pain dissapeared. Now I can digg potatoes even for the whole week without a break” (she was over 80 years old when she said that).

How does it feel to be a mother of a martyr?

“You will know it only if you live through it. You have to receive the will of God. God chooses his martyrs. It is not possible to become one without His grace.”

What do you pray while you pray Rosary?

“I pray for repentance of sinners, priestly vocations, and I thank for received graces.”

What is the most important thing in life?

” God. If God is first, everything will take its rightful place. After you wake up, think about God right away. Then Rosary – one part. And then you start your day.

Do you pray to father Jerzy?

“I pray to God.”

But through father’s intercession?

“I don’t bother him, because people have more urgent needs, and he knows what I need and he is asking God for it.”

Do you feel his protection?

” I feel protection of Mary, Queen of Poland. Mother understands the best and in her hands is everything.”

Last words of father Popieluszko, before going on a fateful trip to another city:

“Let’s pray so we can be free from fear and intimidation, but mostly free from the desire of revenge and retaliation”

Announcement of finding the body of father Popieluszko, where people gathered in the church and during the prayer Our Father, repeat three times “… and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

The next day father Jerzy’s mom in the church where Popieluszko served turned to the people and said: “I forgive. I forgive.”

Marianna received St. Rita’s International reward, which is given to people who forgive the murderers of their loved ones. She says she has forgiven the murderers of her son and she is praying for their conversion. She said that “they were fighting God, not my son”, and that they were trying to fight the Church. Since then she can’t recite other mysteries of Rosary than Sorrowful decades.

Polish late President Lech Kaczynski awarded posthumously father Jerzy Popieluszko with an Order of the White Eagle which is the highest decoration given to Polish citizens for their merits. Here he is kissing Marianna’s hand and expressing his gratitude.

The mother of Father Jerzy Popieliszko, Marianna, second left, prays with family members at her son’s grave in front of the St. Stanislaw Kostka church in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, June 5, 2010

Director’s commentary:

English Language version of the movie is in preparation:

Sanctuary of Bl. Jerzy Popiełuszko

Marianna Popiełuszko in procession behind her son’s relics:

Update: Oct 2012 – new book called “Mother of the Saint” just came out. Once I get it and read it, I’ll update this post. 🙂

zapomniec czy запомнить

запомнить = zapamietac

Usciski premierow nie wystarcza. Spiewanie Okudzawy i Wysockiego nie wystarczy. Zapalanie zniczy na grobach mlodych zolnierzy nie wystarczy. Ale domaganie sie o wydawanie dokumentow zbrodni wojennych takze nie wystarczy. Zadanie przyznania sie do ludobojstwa, gwaltow, mordow, klamstw i gwaltow takze.

Jestem za pojednaniem w prawdzie i w Prawdzie, bo jak nie wybaczymy, to i nam nie zostanie wybaczone. Pojednanie nie wymaga ode mnie jednak zaprzestania dazenia do poznania prawdy, lecz raczej do przebaczenia nawet wtedy, kiedy “oni nie wiedza co  czynia”. Wymaga ode mnie serca pojednanego z Bogiem i bliznim, a to jest duzo trudniejsze, niz dyplomatyczny uscisk dloni, czy zapalenie swieczki. Nie ma pojednania bez krzyza.

A prawdziwie jak mamy potrzebe jednania, my normalni Polacy z nimi, normalnymi Rosjanami, to sie za nich modlmy, pomozmy dzieciakom z sierocincow na Syberii albo bezdomnym dzieciom z St. Petersburga, zapraszajmy ich do siebie, uczmy sie ich historii i jezyka, zeby ich zrozumiec. Rosji oddalam pare lat zycia. Z Rosjanami przegadalam noce na “trudne tematy”, przemodlilam wiele godzin, nagotowalam sie dla nich kapusty i ziemniakow (bo nic innego prawie nie bylo), rozdalam wszystko, co mialam niejeden raz, nasluchalam sie ich historii zyciowych, naodwiedzalam potrzebujacych i opuszczonych. To bylo moje pojednanie.

Moj dziadek, gdyby zyl, zrozumialby to, chociaz sam byl zmuszony zostawic wszystko niedaleko Lwowa i uciekac przez sowietami. Latami jednak sam potem jezdzil, wozac ubrania i jedzenie, zabral mnie z mama dwa razy ze soba. Widzialam tam prawdziwa komune lat 70-tych, ludzki strach w oczach na ulicach, flagi z Leninem wieksze niz nasze kamienice, cerkwie przerobione na fabryki i dzieci, ktore o Stalinie i Leninie opowiadaly gorliwie podczas kolacji. To moj dziadek nauczyl mnie prawdziwego pojednania, choc byl chlop nienawidzacy komunizmu i wszystkiego co sie z tym wiazalo, to rozumial, ze to ludzie ludziom…

Nam jednak sie mowi, ze my mamy sie jednac na poziomie jakims politycznym, nie wspominajac juz zdarzen minionych. Mamy probowac rozumiec, wczuwac sie, zaprzestac pytan, nie snuc niewygodnych wywodow, zamilknac i pokochac. Przebaczenie na takich jakichs niejasnych warunkach, jednostronnie wymagane i niejako narzucone, gdyz trudno sie sprzeciwic wezwaniom tak biblijnie brzmiacym. Nagle zaczynamy sie czuc, ze to my jestesmy calym i jedynym kluczem w tych niesnaskach i ze to od naszej postawy przelkniecia sliny i ugryzienia sie w jezyk zalezec bedzie kolejny krok w naszych nadszarpnietych stosunkach. Probuje sie nam powiedziec, ze trzeba juz przestac i w koncu zapomniec.

Pamiec musi jednak zostac, bez niej nie ma przyszlosci. Pamiec nie zawistna, nie msciwa, lecz trzezwa i pokorna. Ale nie szargajmy i nie ukrywajmy prawdy w imie taniego pojednania, bo robi sie z tego papka tolerancyjnego humanizmu i niewiele znaczacego znoszenia sie nawzajem, z wymaganymi gestami potwierdzajacymi ten stan, ktory z miloscia ma bardzo malo wspolnego.

On jest naszym pokojem. On wprowadził jedność w rozdartą ludzkość, ponieważ usunął mur, który ją odgradzał i dzielił. On w swoim ciele pozbawił mocy Prawo (z jego) przepisami i nakazami. Przywrócił pokój, tworząc w swojej osobie z dwóch (nieprzyjaznych) stron jednego nowego człowieka. Obydwie strony, złączywszy w jedno ciało, przez krzyż pojednał z Bogiem i w sobie położył kres wrogości. Ef 2:14-16

A nawet sie zalapalam na pierwsza strone frondy (pod Blogujemy)…

September 17th

Just 17 days after Hitler’s invasion of Poland, according to the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, Stalin’s Red Army invaded Poland from the East. Until today, not many people know about it, and Russian authorities to this day do not want to acknowledge this fact. At the time of invasion Poland was free for only 20 years after over 100 years of partitions.

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baptised in fire

wizna

One of the four Polish Thermopylae battles in September 1939 was fought near Wizna (Bitwa pod Wizną). 700 Polish soldiers (Six 76 mm guns, 42 MGs, 2 URs) led by captain Raginis against 40 000 Germans (350 tanks, 657 mortars, guns and grenade launchers, Aircraft support). For real. 3 days of heroic defense. Only 40 Polish soldiers survived.

Swedish metal group Sabaton wrote a song called 40:1 (the ratio of German to Polish soldiers, but in reality it was more like 58:1) about this fight. They will play it tomorrow at the concert in the exact place where the battle took place. Have a peak. Both video clips play the same song, the first one is a historical view, the second from their concert in Poland.

Baptised in fire
40 to 1

So silent before the storm
Awaiting command
A few has been chosen to stand
As one outnumbered by far
The orders from high command
Fight back, hold your ground!

In early September it came
A war unknown to the world
No army may enter that land
That is protected by Polish hand
Unless you are 40 to 1
Your force will soon be undone

Baptised in fire
40 to 1
Spirit of Spartans
Death and glory
Soldiers of Poland
Second to none
Wrath of the Wehrmacht brought to a halt

The 8th of September it starts
The rage of the Reich
A barrage of mortars and guns
Stand fast, the bunkers will hold
The captain has pledged his life
I’ll face my fate here!
The sound of artillery strike
So fierce
The thunder of guns

So come, bring on all that you’ve got
Come hell, come high water,
Never stop
Unless you are 40 to 1
Your lives will soon be undone
[40 1 Lyrics On http://www.elyricsworld.com/ ]
Baptised in fire
40 to 1
Spirit of Spartans
Death and glory
Soldiers of Poland
Second to none
Wrath of the Wehrmacht brought to a halt

Always remember, a fallen soldier
Always remember, fathers and sons at war
Always remember, a fallen soldier
Always remember, fathers and sons at war
Always remember, a fallen soldier
Always remember, buried in history

No army may enter that land
That is protected by Polish hand
Unless you are 40 to 1
Your force will soon be undone

Baptised in fire
40 to 1
Spirit of Spartans
Death and glory!
Soldiers of Poland
Second to none
Wrath of the Wehrmacht brought to a halt

No, no, no

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