DECEASED FR. INF. JÓZEF WÓJCIK – LOVED THE CHURCH AND POLAND
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
On 16 February 2014, just before the Jasna Góra Appeal Prayer, Fr. Inf. Józef Wójcik passed away to Lord. The priest the legend, the former parish priest in Suchedniów in the diocese of Sandomierz. If I wanted to summarize the life of the excellent man, I would say: he loved the Church and Poland. He felt the great spirit of cardinal Stefan Wyszyński and he was undoubtedly a knight for him. For Fr. Józef his imprisonment for the matters of the Church was not something extraordinary. He was faithful to God and Homeland throughout his priestly life. He completely subordinated it to the Church and everything which is needed to him the most.
From his priestly young years Fr. Józef was marked by the authorities of the Polish People’s Republic as a man who was dangerous for them. Therefore, the keys for the prison bars for this priest were always on standby. God’s servant cardinal Wyszyński knew about it and he often protect Fr. Józef from dangers. He also experienced fear that Fr. Wójcik might be in seclusion for various reasons. But Fr. Wójcik did not care about it. Being often interrogated by the chiefs of the Polish United Workers’ Party, he knew that his human and priestly dignity is the most important. He had an ordered attitude towards himself and his priesthood – he loved the Church and what was the most important in it, was holiness for him.
It was something very valuable that the Church of that time had priests like Fr. Wójcik, who at the moment of trial could be witnesses o faith. Testimonies of Fr. Wójcik were given in various circumstances, both during interrogations and in freedom when he was driving a militia functionary questioning him.
It turned out that during the last holiday, I could spend much time with Fr. Wójcik. And I saw a man of great faith and love to Homeland which despite of many passing years, did not get smaller at all. This great fire had always been with him – the excellent man and a priest. Fr. Józef always had a rosary with him. It was obvious that he was the best in presiding our prayers and liturgy. He did not refuse to but, on contrary – he enjoyed it and was willing to help in realizing virtues of religiousness. During our common talks he mentioned his difficult youthful years, a need of giving a testimony for the Church and Homeland, but he did not have any aversion or grudge to those who had hurt him, he forgave everybody. He lived in this spirit, with kindness, love to everybody and the sense of humour. He lived with a prayer, reflection, entrustment to God and Blessed Mother. He was quiet and warm-hearted, worthy of priestly honour of monsignor.
His biggest pride was the fact that he had become a thief of Our Lady of Częstochowa. Because it was him who in 1972 had stolen the image of Our Lady arrested at Jasna Góra and whose only frames had been peregrinating throughout Poland for 6 years. Fr. Józef managed to transport back the picture onto the peregrination route and Our Lady could visit Her children again. After that he was named a thief in a cassock – in 2008 a spectacle of the Television Theatre was made under this title – but whole Poland was speaking about his courage and determination. In 2003 a documentary film about him, entitled ‘A priest from Suchedniów’ was broadcast. Fr. Józef writes about this all in his diaries which he had given to us only two days before he died.
Today we and whole Poland express great thanks to this steadfast Priest for his faith and faithfulness to the Polish Church which turned out to be heroic mainly in the fight for worship and respect to the Queen of Poland, our Lady of Jasna Góra.