Originally published at Churchpop

On Sept. 19 of every year, the Polish people celebrate the feast of Blessed Father Jerzy Popiełuszko, a martyr whose heroic life and death contributed to Poland’s liberation from the communist regime.

Father Jerzy was a Polish Roman Catholic priest and a Chaplain of Solidarity, or the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union. This union was the main social movement opposing the communist regime in Poland.

His ministry started when Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński asked him to celebrate Mass for striking workers.

Then, in Feb. of 1982, he began celebrating Mass on the last Sunday of every month for the freedom of Poland.

He based his pastoral activities and teachings on the message, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21), the teachings of Pope John Paul II and Primate Stefan Wyszynski, as well as steadfastness, courage, and support for the persecuted.

His sermons were not filled with hate or aggression towards the communist regime but with love and empathy for those suffering because of it. They also filled people with hope because Father Popieluszko repeatedly emphasized that the Cross is our victory and Jesus conquers all.

As his sermons reached more and more people all over Poland, the communist