THE ULMÓW FAMILY IN ROME
In Rome, at the Papal University Urbanianum on 27 November 2018 an exhibition about the Ulmów family was opened. The inauguration ceremonies took place in the main aula of the university. Guests present there were welcomed by the rector of the university – Fr. Prof. Leonardo Sileo. There were also representatives of the diplomatic corpus credited by the Holy See with the ambassador of the Republic of Poland – Janusz Kotański and an ambassador of Israeli Oren David. The moderator of the meeting was Fr. PhD. Adam Sycz, a rector of the Polish Papal Ecclesiastical Institute in Rome. A minister Wojciech Kolarski, a sub-secretary of the state in the President’s Office, read out a letter which had been addressed to everybody present there by Andrzej Duda. A speech on that occasion was given by Jan Józef Kasprzyk – a chief of the Office for Combatants and Repressed People. He noted the need of commemorating heroic acts of people who had given a heroic testimony of faithfulness to such values as the truth, human dignity and peace. A particular significance in this perspective was expressed by a testimony of Irena Sendecka-Rzońca, representing people who had received the title the Righteous among the World Nations. Other, very important and deeply significant speech was given by archbishop Adam Szal, the metropolitan of Przemyśl, who showed the Ulmów family as an example of faithfulness to God. Fr. Bodgusław TUrek CSMA, a sub-secretary of the Congregation of Canonization Issues, presented ‘Iter causae’, that is, a history of the beatification process of God servants of the Ulmów family from Markowa. He described the most important stages of the diocesan process and the work on the so-called position, as well as he explained the further procedure of beatification processes.
The main lecture – entitled ‘Martyrdom as the best way to follow Christ’ was given by cardinal Angelo Amato SDB, a retired prefect of the Congregation for Canonization Issues. The issue of persecution of the Catholic Church in Poland during the Second World War was presented by Fr. Prof. Jan Mikrut from the Papal Gregorian University. The last lecture was given by a postulator of the beatification process of the Ulmów family – Fr. PhD. Witold Burda. He presented the most important aspects of the tragic death of Józef and Wiktoria Ulmów with their seven children as an example of martyrdom experienced because of faith in Christ.
The exhibition was officially opened by archbishop Adam Szal and Bogdan Romaniuk, a councilor of the regional council of Podkparpacie province and a founder of the Fund named the Ulmów Family ‘SOAR’.
Guests visited the exhibition consisting of a series of panels with archive photos of the Ulmów family and texts in Italian and English, which present the story of life and death of those Righteous among the World Nations. The exhibition was presented by Fr. Burda. Cardinal Amato was clearly moved by the testimony of the Ulmów family. A particularly moving meeting was the one with the ambassador of Israeli with the three Righteous from Poland present at the ceremony: Helena Troszczyńska – Górska, Irena Sendecka-Rzońca and Tadeusz Stankiewicz. The exhibition can be visited from 19 December 2018, from Monday to Friday, at the time of opening hours of the Papal University Urbanianum.
The exhibition was mentioned by pope Francis next day, on 28 November, in his speech to Poles during the general audience. Here are the Pope’s words: ‘I cordially greet Polish pilgrims, particularly organizers of the exhibition opened yesterday in the Papal Univeristy Urbanianum, devoted to the Polish Ulmów family, who were shot to death during the second world war by German Nazis for hiding Jews and helping them. In the context of reflections on the Decalogue, may this family of God’s servants, awaiting beatification, be an example of faithfulness to God and His commandments, love to others and respect for human dignity. I bless all of you with my heart’.
Translated by Aneta Amrozik
Niedziela 49/2018 (9 XII 2018)