A PRESENT FROM FR. JERZY
- I felt shiver on my back, when I received a message on my mobile that I would get work for which I had been waiting for seven years! –I heard a man’s quiet voice.
A man received an offer, as it turned out, a fifty-year-old tall man wearing a faded beige jacket. His name is Edmund. He has a great respect towards Fr. Jerzy. But only recently, since the moment he has got to know his biography. He has been the first time in the flat of the priest martyr.
This flat, in Żoliborz, near the sanctuary of St. Stanisław Kostka, is a headquarter of the centre of Life and Documentation of Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko. Katarzyna Soborak, the chief of the institution, has guests over here. A great variety of them. Pilgrims, tourists, state and church dignitaries, presidents. People from all over the world. But also ordinary pedestrians. Edmund just belongs to them. – I arrived at the grave of Fr. Jerzy. For a dozen years have been seriously ill, and I have been kept by my wife, I do not have any perspective. I have even tried to commit a suicide twice – he says. He believes strongly that if somebody helps him, it will only be the priest Jerzy.
Many, like him, who are hurt, suffering, tired with life come here. They want to find hope.
It will be my weapon
Everybody who enters the former flat of Fr. Jerzy admits that there is an unusual aura here. The aura of peace. Silence. Something which is difficult to express with words. Mr Edmund thinks in the same way.
He looks around in two small rooms. Katarzyna Soborak tells us how they were decorated during life of Fr. Jerzy. Here, there used to be a sofa, a bookcase and there used to be piles of carton boxes with gifts from the West. Some people used to move around the flat. They used to make tea for themselves, smoke and talk. – It happened that Fr. Jerzy used to sit down on a chair somewhere in a corner and started giving confession to somebody – says Mrs Katarzyna. And Edmund listens to the person with bated breath.
- And what was your most memorable meeting with Fr. Popiełuszko? – he asks.
Katarzyna Soborak recalls a conversation which took place in 1984. Fr. Jerzy was sitting by the window then, on a wooden chair. He was depressed when another libel against him had appeared in newspapers. This time he was accused of keeping explosive materials in his flat. – Whereas I knew the woman who had seen how the Security Officers smuggled these materials to his flat – says Katarzyna Soborak. – And I told the priest about it. I assured him that nobody believed in the false allegations.
She was happy to see a slight smile on the priest’s face.
Edmund asks whether he can sit down on the chair for a while, in which Fr. Jerzy was sitting. He sits down, emotionally agitated, touching the backrest shyly. – It is incredible that it has been given to me – he says.
Silence comes. After a while Mrs Katarzyna shows him a white, lacy surplice of Fr. Popiełuszko. Edmund takes it into his hand and attaches it to himself. - This is a real relic. Can it help me? After all, Fr. Jerzy has interceded in people’s requests for so many graces….
At the end of a few-hour meeting, Mr Edmund receives a picture of the relic of the martyr. He puts it into his wallet. In a separate septulum, so that it would not touch the monthly ticket and documents. He promises to have it with himself all the time.
- It will be my weapon – he says.
At that moment a sound of the telephone was heard. Mr Edmund looks at his mobile. He read the message and sits down impressed. – I got a job! I have waited for it for so many years. It is not accidental that the message has come to me just here! It is a present from Fr. Jerzy! Now I will tell everybody about it – he shouts with joy.
The glow of lights to Heaven
There are many people like him. Some come to the Centre of Documentation, others pray at the grave of Fr. Jerzy. There are some people who go straightforward to the Museum of Fr. Popiełuszko. It rarely happens that this place would not make an impression on somebody, or would not touch on somebody’s heart, conscience, human inside. Regardless of whether somebody is a believer or not. Because there are not any emotionally strong people here.
Today, when the date of 19 October is approaching, that is, the next anniversary of abduction of Fr. Popiełuszko, and also liturgical reminiscence of the blessed priest – a martyr, this place – undoubtedly holy – takes on a different character; a more mystical one. Lights which are constantly glowing at the grave, create somehow a glow of requests which are going up to Heaven. Through the intercession of Fr. Jerzy. And there are no such requests which would not be listened to. Because – as Fr. Popiełuszko explained during his life – God knows the best what the man needs and what is the best for him at a particular moment.