New York (PMN)--It was a Solemn Moment at the Father Jerzy
Popieluszko monument as Polish Americans marked the anniversary of
his 1984 murder.
Following a memorial mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka
Church in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, N.Y., the Polish
American Congress (PAC) led a march to McCarren Parkís Popieluszko
Square for an outdoor commemorative service in his honor.
here are Frank Milewski (center), President of the Downstate N.Y.
Division of the Congress and past presidents Michael Preisler (left)
and Michael Pajak. In the background stands an honor guard from the
Sea League of America [Liga Morska] alongside the monument the local
Polish community erected in memory of the Polish cleric.
It was after the ruling Communists declared martial
law in 1981 against the Solidarity movement's efforts to gain
freedom and independence for Poland that Father Popieluszko became
prominent. He encouraged and inspired his countrymen to stand firm
and rely on the principles of their Catholic faith to help them
persevere in the crisis.
His sermons were so effective that the Marxists decided to kill
him. It is believed the order for his murder came directly from
"The enemies of freedom have always been the enemies of Poland,"
said Michael Preisler, a survivor of Auschwitz and co-chair of the
Polish American Congress Holocaust Documentation Committee. "And it
seems they always kill our Polish priests."
The Germans sent Preisler to Auschwitz shortly after Hitlerís SS
had murdered another prisoner, Father Maximilian Kolbe, the Polish
priest who was later canonized a saint by Pope John Paul II.