...the Polish martyr Jerzy Popieluszko will be canonised. He is already Blessed. A miracle obtained through his intercesssion is required before sainthood can be conferred. Read an astonishing account here...and there is a film about his life, info here...
In October, I spent some time in Poland with colleague Clare Anderson, working on a new TV feature on St John Paul the Great. This was a follow-up to our earlier feature on the life of St JP - this time we were exploring his message and legacy (the programme will be broadcast during 2015 - Clare and I are spending next week working on the editing). .
As part of this new JPII feature, we went to the grave of Blessed Jerzy and its accompanying museum. This was a powerful experience. Jamie and I visited the grave back in the 1980s, when Poland was still under martial law and we were bringing in booklets and other assistance for the then-banned Solidarity groups. In those days, praying at Fr Jerzy's grave meant, among much else, expressing solidarity with Solidarity. And the church at Zoliborz, and the churchyard, and the surrounding area, were "free Poland", a small bit of territory that the authorities could not touch.
And now all of Poland is free, and we are all in a new era with new challenges.
Over the Christmas break, I've been reading a biography of Blessed Jerzy. The story is much more, than just a martyr-under-Communism - although he was that, and his martyrdom was savage. It is also the story of a dedicated priest, a model for today's young priests...and his story needs to be better known and understood here in the West.