Bernard Brien

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After spending the greater part of my life far from the Church, I made up again with God at the age of fifty-seven. It happened one day in May 2004. My second marriage was on the rocks. I was desperate because of this new failure that confirmed the collapse of my life. That day, prompted by I know not what inspiration, I went through the door of a little chapel in Les Sables-d’Olonne, at the seashore. It had been ages since I had gone into a church. As soon as I crossed the threshold, I felt that I was seized, enveloped by a presence. I remained there for more than an hour, in silence, awkwardly starting a dialogue with God that resembled a prayer. As I left the chapel, with my heart calmed and at the same time inflamed, I knew that now nothing would be as it had been before. In fact, several months after that conversion, I heard a call to the priesthood. After testing the truth of it, my bishop confirmed my vocation. I then set out on a long journey of formation, with plenty of obstacles, but concluding with my ordination at the cathedral in Créteil on April 15, 2012.1 In order to celebrate this entrance into the priesthood, I treated myself to this tour of Poland as a present.

Before visiting the Marian shrine of Częstochowa, Hubert had suggested a stop in a suburb of Warsaw. “I would like to show you the parish of Saint Stanisłaus Kostka where Father Jerzy Popiełuszko is buried”, he said. I had never heard anything about the place, and the name of the priest meant nothing to me. I found myself entering the church with the two towers standing proudly against the sky. There was nothing special about it, but I thought that it was prayerful, and I felt at ease in it. Around the choir I noticed a whole series of panels depicting the life of Blessed Jerzy, the former assistant pastor of the parish. I discovered that this Polish priest with the gentle, youthful face had been the chaplain of the labor union Solidarność, founded by Lech Wałęsa, that he was considered the symbol of a whole population’s spiritual resistance against Communism, that he had been killed by the police of the regime in 1984, at the age of thirty-seven, and that his ardent commitment to the truth, sealed by his martyrdom, had melted the ice of totalitarianism. Finally, on a plaque recording details about his life, I discovered that he was born on September 14, 1947, exactly the same day as I! What could have been a mere detail made a very vivid impression on me and immediately made the priest close and familiar to me, as though these coincidental births had formed between us an invisible tie, a sort of twinning.

 Upon my return to France, I purchased all the books that had been published on the subject. I had a great thirst for knowledge. I wanted to understand his life, his context, his impact. I informed myself compulsively, spending hours on the internet, asking the help of Polish friends. Jerzy was no longer just an object of knowledge: an intimate relationship had formed between us. Every day, after Morning Prayer, I recited the prayer of thanksgiving for his canonization. I increasingly felt that he was present at my side. Within a few weeks, he had become a companion, a friend, a brother.

SEE COMPLETE “LITANY IN HONOUR OF BLESSED JERZY POPIELUSZKO” BELOW 

Excerpted from “Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko” by Bernard Brien

LITANY IN HONOUR OF BLESSED JERZY POPIELUSZKO 

INTERCESSION PRAYER

O Lord, who in your infinite goodness,
bestowed upon blessed Jerzy Popieluszko
the grace of faith in priestly vocation
until his martyred death,
we beseech you in the words of John II:
“May good arise from this death
like the Resurrection from the Cross”.
Let it happen,
that this unshaken protector of the laws of God and man,
given to our Fatherland and the world
as a sign of victory of love over hatred,
be a model for our life.
Bestow upon me,
through the intercession of Blessed Jerzy,
this favor for which I profoundly petition You.

[Mention your needs here...]

May the sacrifice of life
and his intercession with you
be the cause for growth of Christian faith,
unity and peace on earth.
Through Christ, our Lord.

Amen.

LITANY IN HONOR OF THE BLESSED JERZY POPIELUSZKO

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God, our heavenly Father,
have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God,
have mercy on us.

Holy Mary,
pray for us.

Blessed Jerzy, Martyr,
pray for us.

Courageous follower of Christ,
pray for us.

Faithful witness of the Gospel,
pray for us.

Focus upon the Cross of the Savior,
pray for us.

Venerator of Mary Immaculate,
pray for us.

Dedicated to God since childhood,
pray for us.

Raised in a pious family,
pray for us.

Zealous in his service at the Altar,
pray for us.

Who sought to imitate the Saints,
pray for us.

Faithful to the call of vocation,
pray for us.

Advocate for human dignity,
pray for us.

Defender of the unborn,
pray for us.

Merciful to the suffering,
pray for us.

Sensitive to the plight of victims,
pray for us.

Good Shepherd of workers,
pray for us.

Teacher of conquering evil with good,
pray for us.

Promoter of valor and solidarity,
pray for us.

Defender of Gospel values,
pray for us.

Who warns against revenge,
pray for us.

Advocate for hopefulness,
pray for us.

Unjustly accused,
pray for us.

Cruelly tortured,
pray for us.

Faithful priest until the end,
pray for us.

Martyr for truth and freedom,
pray for us.

Intercessor of the causes of Church and nation,
pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
Have merci on us.

P. I proclaimed your righteousness in the great assembly.
R. I have not restrained my lips, as you know, o Lord.

Let us pray:


Almighty, and eternal God,
You in your infinite wisdom
created Blessed Jerzy as a faithful witness
to the Gospel of love,
look at his martyred death in defending his faith
and the dignity of man
and his accountability for causes,
let us live in true freedom
and may good always overcome evil.
Through Christ, our Lord,

Amen.


[Source: http://ststanskostka.org, Copyright © St. Stanislaus Kostka, Brooklyn, NY 2017 - All Rights Reserved.] 

Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko 


"Father Jerzy Popieluszko was a patriot, a prophet, and a heroic martyr for the Gospel. I have relied on his intercession for decades. His story will inspire any Catholic to be a confident and courageous witness to the truth about our humanity, our freedom, and our Lord, Jesus Christ."  —   Most Reverend James Conley , Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska

"Father Jerzy Popieluszko was a patriot, a prophet, and a heroic martyr for the Gospel. I have relied on his intercession for decades. His story will inspire any Catholic to be a confident and courageous witness to the truth about our humanity, our freedom, and our Lord, Jesus Christ."
Most Reverend James Conley, Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska