Saying Mass, between 1980 and 1984. The banner reads, ‘I bring you my Solidarity’.

Warsaw, 1983-waiting for Pope John Paul II.

Jerzy Popiełuszko between 1982 and 1984.

With Grzegorz Przemyk's mother at the boy's funeral. Grzegorz Przemyk was an aspiring Polish poet from Warsaw, who was murdered by members of the Communist Citizens’ Militia.

Jerzy Popiełuszko
(1947-1984)

Jerzy Popiełuszko was born in the village of Okopy near Suchowola in the Podlasie region on 14 September 1947. After graduating from high school, he joined the Higher Metropolitan Seminary in Warsaw. On 28 May 1972, he was ordained a priest by Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński. He celebrated his first Mass in Suchowola. In 1978, Father Jerzy Popiełuszko was transferred to Warsaw's Żoliborz district to the Infant Jesus parish, where he taught religion to children. In May 1980, Father Popiełuszko became a resident in the St. Stanislaus Kostka parish, located near the centre of Warsaw's Żoliborz – in Wilson Square (then called the Komuny Paryskiej Square). In the period of the strikes of August 1980, the St. Stanislaus Kostka Church became one of the most important gathering points for workers in Warsaw. Workers protesting in the Warsaw Steelworks wanted a Mass to be celebrated on the premises. None of the priests permanently working in the parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka could go there, so eventually Father Jerzy celebrated Mass for the workers. On 13 December 1981, the last stage of the life and activity of Father Jerzy Popiełuszko began. From the imposition of Martial Law in Poland until his death, he preached numerous sermons and celebrated Masses for the Homeland. In addition to the Mass for his Homeland, in 1982 he initiated a pilgrimage of the workers of Warsaw Steelworks to Jasna Góra. This idea was transformed into the Polish Pilgrimage of Workers. Father Popiełuszko also joined the Primate's Committee for People Deprived of Freedom and their Families, and organised help for repressed “Solidarity” activists. Popiełuszko’s activity could in no way be accepted by the communist authorities. He was increasingly under surveillance by the Security Services. Unable to exclude him from pastoral activities by exerting pressure on his church superiors, the services began intimidation. In the first half of 1984, he was interrogated thirteen times and arrested once. Organised attacks on the part of the press and mass media, orchestrated by the security and propaganda apparatus of the Polish People’s Republic, intensified. On 19 October 1984, after a Mass at a parish in Bydgoszcz, on his way back to Warsaw, Father Jerzy Popiełuszko was detained, and then kidnapped and murdered by three Security Services officers.