Priest Martyred by Communism Beatified in Poland

On Saturday, July 15, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, presided over the beatification of the Communist martyr priest Michał Rapacz (1904-1946) at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki, Krakow.

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Newsroom (20/06/2024 15:00, Gaudium Press)  The testimony of Michał Rapacz, a priest and martyr, adds to the series of saints and blesseds who have honored the Church in Krakow since the time of Saint Stanislaus. “Today’s beatification is a sign of consolation from God, at a time still wounded by violence and war in many parts of the world, and not far from here,” said the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints in his homily. The Polish priest was murdered for odium fidei – hatred of the faith – in 1946 by the communists.

Martyrdom of Fr. Michał Rapacz

Fr. Michał Rapacz was born in 1904 and in 1926 he entered the Higher Seminary in Krakow. He was ordained a priest on February 1, 1931, and from 1931 to 1933 he worked as a vicar in Płoki, and then in Rajcza from 1933 to 1937.

Michał Rapacz’s zealous ministry became the cause of the communist authorities’ harassment of him. However, during one of his sermons, Fr. Rapacz declared: “even if I fall dead, I will not stop proclaiming this Gospel and I will not renounce my own cross”.

At the end of the war, in a Poland under Soviet Stalinist rule, on May 11, 1946, shortly before midnight, a group of 20 armed men attacked the rectory of Płoki, kidnapping Father Michał and killing him in a nearby forest. His body was found on the morning of May 12 by farmers taking their cattle to pasture. He was 42 years old. The perpetrators of the crime were never identified. In fact, the investigation was carried out using methods typical of the communist regime, aimed at concealing the reality of the facts and, above all, the motive.

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The Eucharist: the Foundation of Life

Meditating on the Eucharist as the sacrament of mercy, the Italian cardinal especially wanted to encourage young people to embrace the Gospel with their whole being, following the example of Blessed Michał Rapacz. “In just over 40 years of life, he has learned the greatest wisdom: that of knowing how to discern to whom to give his whole being,” said Cardinal Semeraro, recalling that Blessed Michael Rapacz’s “yes to the priesthood” echoes the “yes” of Jesus Christ.

In fact, the Eucharist was the foundation of his life as a man of God. “Spreading the love of Christ present in the consecrated Bread was for him the only effective antidote against atheism, materialism and all the worldviews that threaten human dignity,” the cardinal assured.

“From the celebration of Holy Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, he drew inner strength and energy, capable of transforming life and the world, everyday life and history,” emphasized Cardinal Semeraro, pointing to the profound spirituality of the new Polish Blessed.

And Cardinal Semeraro said that every evening, according to documents and testimonies, the priest would enter the church, stand in front of the tabernacle, prostrate himself on the floor in the shape of a cross and, there, the status animarum of his parishioners would become his prayer book, interceding for each one and for the families of his community. “In this way, Michał Rapacz teaches us that the Eucharist is not only the source of good, but also its fulfillment, because in it man’s agitation, his search and all his needs find refuge.”

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With information from Vatican News

The post “Priest Martyred by Communism Beatified in Poland” appeared first on Gaudium Press.

Compiled by Florence MacDonald

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