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October 12, 1990     The Message
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October 12, 1990

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12 View Point The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana October 12, 1990 ii 4, By FATHER JOSEPH L. ZILIAK Associate Publisher What does it take to be a saint, a martyr, a hero? Sometimes it simply takes a good person to be caught up in very extraordinary times. Father Jerzy Popieluszko is such a person. A thumbnail sketch of his life contains the following details. He was born Sept. 14, 1947, in a small village of Okopy. In 1965 he began his seminary studies in Warsaw. From 1966 to 1068 he fulfilled his military service and apparently showed courage in supporting his religious beliefs. Back in the seminary he was operated on for a thyroid condition and treated for serious heart trouble. He was ordained a priest May 28, 1972, by Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the Primate of Poland and archbishop of Warsaw. He was an associate pastor and then served as religious instructor and chaplain for medical students in Warsaw. In May 1980 he moved to St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Warsaw where he helped in the parish and organ- ized a group of medical staff for common prayer and meditation. In August 1980, during the solidarity strike, the steelworkers at the Warsaw Steelworks asked that he be named their chaplain. Cardinal Wysznski did that. Father Jerzy became deeply en- gaged in this ministry with the working people, then, and during the subsequent martial law period. He apparently spent time with families Father Jerzy: a herald of the evangelic principle when workers were brought into court for Solidari- ty activities. He also helped provide food and other financial support to these needy families. Starting in January 1982, on the last Sunday of the month Father Jerzy celebrated Mass for the Fatherland and preached on Christian ideals of social justice, of freedom, love and the need to de- fend basic human rights and the dignity of men and women as children of God. "He was a herald of the evangelic principle: overcome and fight evil with good." People began to come by the thousands. Father Jerzy was driving back to St. Stanislaus from Bydgoszcz, a small village outside of War- saw, on Oct. 19, 1984. It was about 10 p.m. He was stopped by three high ranking members of the Interior Ministry. He was gagged, choked, beaten (One confessed at the subsequent trial, "I did not know a man can stand so much beating."), tied with a rope and thrown into the Vistula River. His body was not recovered until Oct. 30. During the interim, people came and went day and night to St. Stanislaus Church. Masses were celebrated, joint and private prayers were said, as a vigil was kept until Father Jerzy returned. This time he returned in a coffin, carried into the , church on the shoulders of burly, and weeping steelworkers. Cardinal Joseph Glemp announced on Nov. 1 that Father Jerzy was to be buried in Powazki Cemetery. A petition with 10,000 signatures was presented to the Cardinal requesting that Father Jerzy be buried at the church. "The steelworkers won't let the coffin leave this place. He must be buried here, close to the church and here we will guard him." And so he was buried in a grassy area to the right of the front door of the church. A beautiful, cross-shaped gray marble marker is placed over the spot. Candles and fresh flowers appear daily. Over two million people come yearly to remember and venerate Father Jerzy. Pope John Paul II called him a martyr. People change their lives after visiting the church and burial spot. This sanctuary awakes the conscience. "Every one who stands at this grave -- unless he is senseless and with no con- science," writes Father Antoni Lewek, "must ask himself: which side do I take? The side of good or evil, the side of truth or falsehood, love or hatred?" May we be as willing to witness to Chris- tian ideals and truth! The traditional day for celebrating a saint's en- try to heaven is the day of the death, which is at the same time, the 'dies natalis' the day of birth to heaven. For Father Jerzy that day is Oct. 19. Continued from page 1 lems in their parts of the world. Latin America has had few Indian vocations because the traditional seminary "does not correspond to their culture," said Bishop Nestor Herrera Heredia of Machala, Ecuador. To an Indian, the traditional seminary "disorients him and makes him a stranger tohis own cultural reality," he said. The synod began, however, with conflicting assessments of the turbulent years since the end of the Second Vatican Council. German Cardinal Joseph Rat- zinger, head of the Vatican Con- gregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the post-coniliar priesthood was "in crisis." Cardinal Willebrands, mean- while, warned against "nostalgia" for a pre-conciliar golden age. Both men spoke Oct. 1, prior to the start of debate on priestly formation, at a special ceremony to mark the 25th an- niversary of the Synod of Bishops, established by Pope Paul VI in 1965. Since Vatican II the priesthood is seen as less sacrameatal and Christ is seen as a Marxist-styled political liberator of the poor from the oppression of the rich, said Car- dinal Ratzinger, tying this to the post-conciliar drop in vocations. Priestly sacramental powers come from God and cannot be simply delegated IJy a com- munity or assumed by an in- dividual, he added. Cardinal Willebrands warned against a rosy view of pre- conciliar times when "church- es were full and vocations plentiful." This period also sw the rise of totalitarian and atheistic regimes, he said. Referring to contemporary Europe as "de-Christianized" is deceptive, he added. The car- dinal cited the real questions as: Is this really a matter of society becoming indifferent, or rather that today religious life requires less social conformism and more personal conviction? The overall tone of the priest- ly formation debates was set by Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves of Sao Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, papally appointed re- cording secretary, responsible for giving orientation to synod discussions. Delegates should concentrate on strengthening spiritual for- mation rather than arguing over priestly celibacy, ordaining women and assigning ministerial tasks to laicized married priests, he said. Without solid spiritual for- mation, bishops risk laying hands on good and nice pagans," he said Oct. 2.  Golden jubilarians Ivo and Severine (Elpers) Brune of Evansville will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 2:3C p.m. Oct. 20 at Holy Redeemer Church, Evansville. A dance for\\; family and friends will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Knights of St. John Hall in St. Wendel. The couple was married Oct. 22, 1940 at St. Wendel Church. They have four children, Yvonne Will, Pat Will, Phyllis Higgins and Terry Brune, all of Evansville; nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Brune retired from Ideal-American Dairy after 29 years. Mrs. Brune is a retired cook. She worked at both Rex Mundi High School, Evansville, and at St. Theresa School, Evansville. Delegates generally followed his advice as speakers moved into the second week of discussions. Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin of Chicago asked for ways of making the positive values of celibacy better understood in societies where "celibacy often Pears unattractive and, in- ed, unattainable." Some priests "who have made the commitment say they did so under constraint, because it was a necessary con"  dition for ordination," he said. Several delegates asked f0r better sexual screening methods of seminarians and better programs to deal with sexual problems. Auxiliary Bishop FrederiCk Henry of London, OntariO, alluded to pedophilia scandals in Canada involving priests and said screening programs couid}" l help prevent situations iF See BISHOPS page 13 Golden jubilarians ' r ena Nurrenbe n er e will Clarence and Lor ( r ) H rmann of Evansvill ,f celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a MasS " Thanksgiving at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 28 at St. Agnes Chur Evansville. An Open House for family and friends wil be beJ. from 2 to 4 p.m. in the school cafeteria. The couple requests  U g ifts . The coup le was married Oct. 26, 1940 at St . Anes ChurCh". They have six children, Michael, Allen, Carolyn Adler, Marll Sander and Mary Jo Kirchoff, all of Evansville, and Barb Wilderman of Mount Vernon; 16 grandchildren, and four gre" grandchildren. :;