...that Fr Jerzy Popieluszko is to be beatified this week is very good news indeed.
When he died, nearly three decades ago, he was a hero and a symbol for young Poland. In those days, the only way to get books, newsletters, information that was critical of Communism,plus printing equipment etc, into the country for Solidarity,into Poland was to smuggle it in from the West, packed in ordinary luggage. It was safest to keep the addresses to which such material was delivered a bit secret, so these were written on a small bit of paper and wrapped in some plastic and hidden well within one's clothes. The suitcases were rather heavy to carry nonchalantly through Warsaw airport but it was well worth it, and the people we met in Solidarity were wonderful and fun and we had an unforgettable time.
One of the most important places to go was the church where Fr Jerzy had preached, and already it was a shrine to him. And not a tacky shrine - there was some really fine artwork, carvings, paintings, and so on there, all safeguarded because the place really was virtually untouchable by the authorites. "Here it is free Poland" said our young guide enthusiastically. One day, we all promised each other, all of Poland will be free. And now it is.