Tuesday 8 October 2019

Jerzy Popieluszko Victim of Communism - Grazyna Sikorski - CTS 20th Century Martyrs

Jerzy Popieluszko: 
Victim of Communism 
Grazyna Sikorski
CTS 20th Century Martyrs
Catholic Truth Society
eISBN 9781784693206
CTS Booklet B654

In just over a year I have read nearly 100 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. I have been asked by more that one friend why these books and booklets have taken such a precedence in my reading, especially when I have a university degree in Religious Studies and focused on Roman Catholic Thought. First there is such a wide range of topics and so many great series. Second there have been books that have served as introduction to new topics or so focused they provide great information in such small concise volumes. And, finally, as with the case of this one, over half of the books I have read are about people, Saints, Martyrs, and other people of faith. This is the fourth book in the CTS 20th Century Martyrs series that I have read. It is the first for a victim of the communists. The other three have been about Victims of the Nazis. And with each book in the series I have gotten to know these men and women those who lived their faith in those terrible situations.

This is the first story I have read about a Catholic priest under the communist reign, who was a martyr. It was a deeply moving story and it is a powerful read. Parts of the story are very hard to read, especially about the beating he took, and how they had to identify his body. This booklet follows Jerzy from his early years to the process of beatification. The chapters in the volume are:

Early Life
Poland under communism
Calling to the priesthood
Seminary years
In the army

The Young Priest
As a medical chaplain
Fr Jerzy and the pro-life Movement in Poland

Martial law
A day in the life of Fr. Jerzy
Masses for the Fatherland
The patriotic sermons
The mission of Solidarity
John Paul II on Solidarity
Not Selling Out

In prison
Kidnapping and murder
His last moments
A National outrage
Fr. Jerzy’s death is announced
The Funeral
An inspiration even after death
Towards beatification

There are many who make pilgrimage to Poland, and many of those visit the gave of Jerzy. Most are moved. One pilgrim stated:

“Father, I’m a Catholic, but over the years I have neglected my faith. On Sundays, instead of going to church, I would go to my country house. Then I stood at Fr Jerzy’s grave. I saw those thousands of flowers, candles and wreaths and so many people praying and crying… I was shaken and realised that this 37-year-old priest gave his life not for material values, but for spiritual, religious and patriotic ones. He sacrificed his young life… How do I look in comparison with this martyred priest? Deeply shaken, I went to confession and I have gone to church every Sunday since then.”

This was the life of a young man who can serve as an example for all of us. His service, his love, his devotion. And above all his stand for what was true and what was right. 

This book was originally published in 2010 and the eBook edition was released in 2017. And even though the physical book is out of print we are blessed to be able to access the eBook edition. This is a an excellent read. It is not an easy read, but most books about the 20th Century Martyrs are not. But they are very important reads. They are books that we need to read and need to remember. Especially as anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism are on the rise, in Europe and around the world. Another great read from the Catholic Truth Society. I encourage you to give it a read and track down others in the 20th Century Martyrs Series!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the 20th Century Martyrs Series:
Sophie Scholl and the White Rose: Resistance to the Nazis - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky
Johann Gruber & Jacques Bunel Victims of the Nazis - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky
Maximilian Kolbe, F. Jagerstatter, K. Leisner, R. Mayer: Victims of the Nazis - Franz Jagerstatter
Edith Stein, Marcel Callo, Titus Brandsma: Victims of the Nazis – Matthew Monk
Saint Maria Goretti: Teenage Martyr for Chastity - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
The Atlas Martyrs – Jean Olwen Maynard

Jerzy Popieluszko Victim of Communism - Grazyna Sikorski
Isidore Bankanja - Jean Maynard

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