Jerzy Popiełuszko was born on September 14, 1947 in Okopy village, Suchowola parish, Podlasie district. His parents, Wladyslaw and Maria, were farmers. He was baptized as Alfons, he changed his name to Jerzy in the seminary. He was an altar server and he attended Holly Mass every day since he was 11. He entered the Metropolitan Higher Seminary of St. John the baptist in Warsaw (Warszawa) in 1965. During studies‚ he had to perform his two year military service in special unit for seminarians in Bartoszyce town. After returning to the seminary, he underwent thyroid surgery and he was treated due to heart disease.
He was ordained as deacon on March 12, 1972, and he was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski on May 28, 1972.
Last place of residence and work of the priest Jerzy Popieluszko (from May 20, 1980) was The St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Zoliborz district in Warsaw, he was helping with working on the parish, and dealing with pastoral care of specialists. He led formative meetings for students’ group from Medical University, he was a priest of nursing personnel, and organized prayer meeting for medicals monthly. He participated in preparation of two pilgrimages to Poland of the Pope John Paul II in 1979 and 1983. Despite of communist authorities and SB [Security Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs] objections he was the leader of the Health Section of the Admission Committee of the Pope John Paul II, and he performed medical service for pilgrims.
While creating and the abolition of the Solidarity [Polish trade union], and later during the martial law in Poland, his engaging in the priesthood of working people was very important part of his life. Since 1982, he celebrated Holy Masses for the Homeland accumulating crowds of people. He supported strikers in Huta Warszawa ironworks in 1980 and students of universities striking in 1981. In 1982, he made a pilgrimage of Huta Warszawa ironworks workers to Jasna Gora [a hill in Czestochowa city]. The pilgrimage evaluated as National Pilgrimage of Polish Working People. Despite the harassment of the government, libels and slanders of mass media, he was a proponent and defender of human dignity, human rights to freedom, justice, love and truth. He was examined by the prosecution, held and arrested many times. Nevertheless he repeated St. Paul: “MASTER EVIL WITH GOOD:. In 1984, the persecution by the security service intensified.
While returning from pastoral duties in Bydgoszcz town priest Jerzy was held by three officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Department of Fighting Against Church) and abducted on October 19, 1984. The incident happened on the road near Torun town.
After 10 days searching, the body of Jerzy Popieluszko was fished from an artificial water reservoir close to Vistula River (Wisla) dam near Wloclawek town on October 30, 1984. According to the will of Catholic society the funeral was in Warsaw on November 3, 1984. Crowds of Polish people convinced of his martyrdom and holiness were there. He was buried in the tomb close to St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Warsaw. The solemn beatification was on June 6, 2010 in the Pilsudski Square, Warsaw. The canonization process of blessed priest Jerzy Popieluszko started on September 20, 2014 in Creteil diocese in France – in the view of miracle of his intercession.
Places connected with Blessed priest Jerzy Popieluszko:
-Wloclawek town: Sanctuary of Martyrdom Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko:
- Warsaw: the tomb of Blessed Priest Jerzy in St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish (http://www.popieluszko.net.pl/)