Monday, June 7, 2010

The Blessed Popieluszko

Yesterday it was bright and sunny and a little bit hot. It was also the day of the beatification of Jerzy Popiełuszko. It was held at Pilsudki Square, the same site as the ceremony remembering those who perished in Smolensk over a month ago.
Popieluszko was a Polish priest who was assassinated in 1984 by the Communist Secret Police. His was heavy associated with Solidarity and a staunch anti-communist, which made him an enemy of the State. His assassination caused a national uproar, and today he is considered a martyr of the Catholic Church.
Popieluszko adorns the cover of a pamphlet handed out.

I got there right as it was beginning—11:00AM—so I wasn't in the best position to see anything. In fact, I saw nothing. I was in the trees, so the branches and leaves obscured my view of the giant screens, but I could hear everything nicely. It started out with a recitation of (what I think was) all the Polish saints. There were speeches, a Mass, and a beautiful choir. The sun was bright and hot, and I think one elderly woman had to be led out of the crowd to heatstroke. Also, the crowd got pushy trying to get to the communion stations.
It was much of the same experience of the Kaczynski Memorial, but on a smaller scale. There was the crowd, the scouts, the barricades, but there were no giant water stations, or enormous screens in the Saxon Gardens. Afterwards, there was another event in Wilanow (one I did not attend.) People came from all over, supporters of Solidarnosc with bandanas around their necks with lettering such as "Solidarnosc Lodz", etc. People waved Polish flags, usually emblazoned with symbols of Popieluszko and Solidarity.

The field before Pilsudski Square the day before; they were setting it up.

The crowd jostling to get to communion.

Some hip monks in the Saxon Gardens.

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