Biography (en)

SERVANT OF GOD FATHER JOSEPH KURZEJA

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

 
Joseph Kurzeja was born on January 10, 1937,  in the village of Zasadne, parish of Kamienica, Limanowa district. He was the youngest of seven children born to Stanislaus Kurzeja and Sophia Gorczowska. Two days later, he was baptized in the parish church of Kamienica.
 
The family lived off the land, his father also worked as a surveyor. His mother died when he was nine years old. According to her wish, Joseph was sent to live under his aunt’s care in Kadcza.   There, he lived through many hardships.  However, by the age of thirteen, life changed for the better –  thanks to the initiative  of his own sister who belonged to the Sisters Servants. The  Mother Superior of the Congregation accepted him into the orphanage in Wilamowice. There, he finished elementary school.
 
He entered the Minor Seminary of Cracow, located in Manifest Lipcowy St. (Piłsudski St., now). The high school-leaving examinations taken at the Minor Seminary were not recognized at the time by the People’s Republic of Poland. In order to pursue his further education, he had to pass the state examinations.   Eventually, on May 15, 1956, in Stalinograd ( present Katowice ), Joseph and two other students, out of a class of thirty, were the only ones to pass the high school final exams. 
 
In 1956, he entered the Cracow  Archdiocese Major Seminary,  located in Podzamcze St. Liked by his fellow students and superiors, he was a good student and did well in all of his exams.
 
On June 17, 1962, at the Wawel Cathedral, he received his holy orders from the capitular curate of Cracow – bishop Karol Wojtyła. He celebrated his first Mass in Wilamowice, and the next one in his parish church of Kamienica.
He was vicar of the following parishes:
  • Mucharz      August, 1962 - July 1964
  • Grojec near Oświęcim    August1, 1964 – August 20, 1967
  • Siersza   August 20, 1967 - June 6, 1968
  • Raciborowice    June 28, 1968 - 1970
The village of Mistrzejowice, part of the parish of Raciborowice, according to the land development plan, was meant to accommodate 40,000 residents. The authorities did not include in their plans any church buildings. In 1970, however, it was in this village that Fr. Kurzeja, with the permission of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, decided to establish a new parish and, have a church built. To begin with, under cover of darkness, on August 29, 1970, he had a wooden barrack, called the “green hut” constructed. It was built where, now, there is the Oświecenie housing district.
 
He began his pastoral work in the “green hut”, which gave rise to a wide range of harassment by  the local authorities and secret police; interrogated and detained, he faced charges and trials, as well as heavy fines from the magistrates’ court. As a result of this relentless persecution over a long time, Father Kurzeja’s health deteriorated to the point that he needed to make frequent hospital visits.
 
He managed to have a building constructed that housed the chapel,  and rooms for religious instruction, as well as the church.  He died on August 15, 1976; buried, two days later, in the Grębałów cemetery. The funeral ceremony was attended by 20, 000 faithful, 120 nuns and  113 priests, who covered the  distance of  about seven kilometers from  Mistrzejowice  to the Grębałów cemetery. 
 
Four years later, on November 16, 1980, Father Joseph’s remains were returned to  Mistrzejowice, to the church which he devoted all his life to, and buried in the crypt, in a specially designed  sarcophagus. Visitors can enter the crypt any  time  the church is open.
The Process of Beatification of the Servant of God Father Joseph Kurzeja was opened on May 5, 2005.
 
 
THE FILM
 
1972 – 1974, Mistrzejowice: Cardinal Karol Wojtyła and Fr. Kurzeja
 
produced by J. Ridan
 
 
Any friends or relatives who can identify themselves in the photographs are kindly requested to contact the parish by e-mail at parafia@mistrzejowice.net. We would appreciate hearing your stories about the past events.
 
 
THE ORIGINS OF OUR PARISH; unique photographs
 
-  March 26, 1972: Palm Sunday
 
- April 22, 1973: Resurrection Mass celebrated by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła
 
-  August 14, 1974: the visit of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła and Bishop Andrzej Deskur at the construction site of the new building for catechism instruction
 
-  December 1, 1972: consecration of the new building for catechism instruction and the chapel by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, with the participation of Franciszek Gajowniczek
 
 
Any friends or relatives who participated in these celebrations and can identify themselves are kindly requested to contact the parish by email at parafia@mistrzejowice.net. We would appreciate hearing your stories about the past events.
 
 
BEATIFICATION PROCESS
 
His Eminence Cardinal Franciszek Macharski initiated the Beatification Process of Father Canon Joseph Kurzeja in the Chapel of The Archiepiscopal Curia of Cracow on May 4, 2004 at nine o’clock. On that day, the candidate for the honours of the altar was granted the title of the Servant of God.
 
Mrs. Maria Sobota thanked  Cardinal Franciszek Macharski for initiating the Beatification Process.
 
“ Come behold the works of the Lord                            
  What desolations he hath made in the earth”
   
    Psalm 46
 
She stated: thanks be to God for  the gifts of priesthood, and  heroic life of  Father Joseph
Kurzeja, who gave rise to our parish of Mistrzejowice. And to You, Your Eminence, for sparing no effort to make the day of the Beatification Process come true.   And may it happen that the quoted words of  the Psalm, of glorious works  of God, be  fulfilled,  and be shared among us.
Your Eminence, on  behalf of  all  the  families of our parish , and  those present  here,
I wish to extend my most cordial thanks, as well as the words of devotion , love and gratitude.
Your Eminence, God bless you.
 
Let us pray for a prompt beatification of the Servant of God Fr. Joseph Kurzeja, founder of our parish, and our first parish priest. Let us visit the crypt in the lower part of our  church, and ask for his intercession through our prayers.  Let us encourage  all those who knew  Fr. Joseph Kurzeja to bear  testimony to his heroic life. Should you have been  granted a special grace, you are kindly requested to contact the parish by e-mail, mail  or in person so that we may gather  further information to help in the beatification process.
 
 
Holy Eucharist, for raising the Servant of God to the glory of the altars,
is celebrated every Thursday at 6 p.m., in the narthex of our church. After the Mass,
in the crypt, by Fr.Kurzeja’s sarcophagus, through his intercession, we entrust to God our petitions and are grateful for any graces received.
 
Mucharz exhibit commemorating Fr. Joseph Kurzeja  - pilgrimage account.
On January 9, 2011, our parishioners  attended the opening of the exhibit of Fr. Joseph
Kurzeja memorabilia in Mucharz , his first parish from 1962 – 1964.
 
The pilgrimage of 9 people, was  headed by Fr. Filip Bandurski and  Mrs. Barbara Frydel,
a member of the Historical Commission of the Beatification Process of the Servant of God,
and a co-author of the book Father Canon Joseph Kurzeja: It Is My Wish to Build a
Church in Mistrzejowice. Among the pilgrims,  there were Janusz Frydel, Jarosław Frydel, IrenaKrólikiewicz, Tadeusz Pinas, Zofia Fudalej, Maria Zięba and Maria Kępa.
At 9 am, we attended the Holy Mass for a prompt Beatification of the Servant of God
 Fr. Joseph Kurzeja,  which was presided over by Fr. Krzysztof Strzelichowski,the parish priest of St. Adalbert Church in Mucharz, and concelebrated by Fr. Filip Bandurski.
Fr.Joseph Kurzeja  exibit was opened in the  school building at 11.30;  Fr.Krzysztof
Strzelichowski -   gave the welcome speech -  and Mrs. Maria Sidor, the organizer and the president of the Artists Association,Warsaw  - outlined  the purpose and the  idea of the
exhibit.  The character of Fr. Joseph  Kurzeja,  and his journey to sainthood was presented by
Mrs. Barbara Frydel.
The folk group, The Coral Beads, from Fr. Kurzeja’s home town of  Kamienica,  performed a concert of Christmas carols, and highland-style songs.
The exhibit  included family pictures, chronicles, books, and most precious personal
belongings, such as his bedside lamp, shirt, and part of his dressing-gown, all of which 
we treasure like relics.
We took the opportunity to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the birth of Fr.Kurzeja with a delightful cake and refreshments. On the way back to Cracow, after a warm farewell, we visited the sanctuary in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska.
We wish to thank the organizers for the enjoyable stay in Mucharz, their warm welcome, and
hospitality.  We would particularly like to thank Fr. Filip Bandurski for arranging the
pilgrimage, as well as celebrating the Holy Mass for us. May God bless you. God bless.
 
Maria Kępa
 
 
Speech delivered  on the occasion of the exhibit, to commemorate the life of the
Servant of God, Mucharz, January 9, 2011.
 
Fr. Joseph Kurzeja was born in the village of Zasadne on January 10, 1937. Two days later,
he was baptized in the parish church, Kamienica; after the ceremony, his mother, holding
him in her arms, was kneeling in front of the painting of Our Lady; somehow she sensed
that he would become a priest,  saying so even before he was born. 
 
His family, impoverished, lived off the land. His father, Stanislaus Kurzeja, also worked as a
surveyor;  sometimes not charging poor farmers any money for his services, saying: “Pray  for me, it’ll do”, instead.  Moreover, the Kurzejas helped those stricken by greater poverty, and took care of five children who had lost their parents. 
 
 
The Kurzejas household was one of prayer, the children  raised in the Catholic faith,
three of whom devoted their life to the service of God.
Joseph’s  life,  as the youngest child ,  was not easy.   With elder siblings having their duties to do and their problems to face, he was  left on his own. Exceptionally sensitive, he would not complain to anybody. Instead, as his sister Longina remembers, he would seek out a place to cry. His way of dealing with challenges remained unchanged throughout his entire life: sharing joy with others, yet discreetly soothing his sorrows, whatever they may have been.
 
His mother’s death, to whom he was greatly attached, was his most painful childhood experience. She died when he was only nine years old. His father, then, sent him to his aunt’s place in Kadcza so that he could continue his education. Already at such an early age,
the boy dreamt of becoming a priest. At his aunt’s place, he was treated like a servant, and finally, he was sent to another household to perform similar duties. Upon learning of the boy’s misfortune, his father brought him back home immediately. Joseph wanted to continue
his education; however, there was no school where the family lived.
 
This was the time when , his own sister, a nun of the Sisters Servants, was to be of a great
help to him. Thanks to her, and people he befriended , Joseph was able to pursue his   education. The happiest day in his life was June 17,1962, when at the Wawel Cathedral, he
received his holy orders from bishop Karol Wojtyła.
 
He began his pastoral ministry in Mucharz, later working successively in Grójec, near
Oświęcim, Siersza and Raciborowice. The parishes he was sent to, often run by elderly priests, were in a sorrowful state. When his term ended, he was leaving behind a renovated church, a vibrant religious community and tearful parishioners. Sometimes Fr. Kurzeja had to leave at night to avoid a dramatic farewell. Parishioners would write protest letters to the Curia, only to learn that, at the moment, he was needed somewhere else. Loved by all the faithful – adults, youth and children – he knew how to get along with everybody: drunkards, rascals, and unbelievers; there were, even, some conversions reported. Here is what one of unbelievers of Mucharz said : “ Good must be your God if you have such a priest”.
 
Among Fr.Kurzeja’s predominant qualities were: love of God above all else, deep faith, and
ability to build unity. The community Fr.Kurzeja created was meant  and proved to be for
everybody. When in need, anyone could turn to him for help; for how to help –  he knew.
Once, attending a dying child, he did not leave until he was sure the parents would, somehow,
be able to cope with such a terrible blow.
 
Raciborowice was the last parish he was assigned to. By God’s will, the people he came in
contact with, the Bishop’s assignments he completed, the heroic virtues of a genuine saint  he
was favoured with, and the illnesses he had to go through – all these were to prepare him for
the greatest challenge of all: to start a new parish in the village of Mistrzejowice, part of the parish of Raciborowice.
The village of Mistrzejowice was intended to be a state model district housing 40,000 workers. There would be no church nor God. The Communist Party bureaucrats estimated
at the time that Nowa Huta - the model socialist town – would grow to half a million inhabitants. It was also not to include any new churches apart from the existing Ark Church,
built with accompanying street riots and clashes in the Bieńczyce neighbourhood. Any attempt to get a building permit for a new church was futile. Not for Fr. Kurzeja who 
refused to accept this verdict. 
 
He came up with an alternative idea, supported by Cardinal Wojtyła, to construct , in the fields of Mistrzejowice, a tiny wooden cabin, more like a tool shed, where he could begin teaching catechism. This structure has now been standing for 40 years. Designed by
Fr. Kurzeja using pre-fabricated wooden frames, it was built overnight to prevent the
authorities from intervening. Painted green, so as not to differ noticeably from the nearby acacia bushes, he cabin was soon to be called – the “green hut”, and Fr. Kurzeja – the parish priest from the “green hut”.
 
The “green hut” attracted thousands of the faithful of Mistrzejowice, with Fr. Kurzeja
saying Holy Masses, and administrating all Holy Sacraments. Cardinal Karol Wojtyła
himself would visit,  and give his blessing to the growing  parish community.
 
The ‘green hut” soon caught the attention of the Communist authorities. About two months after construction,  Fr. Kurzeja was ordered to pull it down. Ten days later, he was called to report before  the Head of the Regional People’s Council, and the Head of the Denomination Department of the Cracow Municipal Council. Fr. Kurzeja admitted to having built the “green hut”, but refused to pull it down, pointing out that that it was meant for the children of Mistrzejowice, to meet their religious needs .Also, he stated that he would not submit to the decision of the building authorities: he was acting on God’s call, to whom he had to obey. If the authorities were to demolish the “hut”, he would erect a tent from which he would teach and preach the faith.
 
His obstinacy provoked a period of constant interrogation,  magistrate’s court charges, fines and court trials. The Head of the Denomination Department, suggested in a report that :
“Fr. Kurzeja should be so ensnarled with the Militia ( police force in Communist Poland ),
and the Magistrates Court that he would have little time to fulfill his pastoral duties .
In accordance with the Public Gatherings Act, he was slapped with a fine of  4,500  zlotys,  or commutation to imprisonment, and with a further 1,500 zlotys fine from the Public Money Collection. 
 
Forbidden to register as a resident of Mistrzejowice,  Fr. Kurzeja slept on the floor in the “green hut” regardless of the season.  There, he was constantly harassed: at night, by unknown perpetrators who  would bang on the walls,  break windows, floodlight the surrounding area and threaten  to burn him alive, with the hut. When he was offered to spend a night at someone’s place, he would be made to leave in the early morning hours, with the outside temperature of -20 degrees Celsius, and the owner of the apartment to pay a fine. 
Consequently, his health kept  deteriorating and the visits to the hospital became increasingly
frequent. When, in 1972, he left the hospital, the doctors made the following assessment and
recommendations: “The patient is permanently unfit for work; should adopt a less stressful
lifestyle; have peaceful environment at bed time; reduced physical activity, including stairs
climbing and long walks.” Since then he remained under permanent medical supervision.
 
Fr. Kurzeja’s dream, however, was to build a church in Mistrzejowice, and he put his whole
heart, mind and strength into accomplishing this goal. His health was failing him often, but once recovered, he would immediately resume his duties. It  was only once that he asked a trial be postponed; as he had just succumbed to a heart attack.
 
The faithful stood by him at all times; they prayed with him in the open fields of Mistrzejowice enjoying a sense of unity they shared with him .He would say about this unity
that it was swayed by the wind, lashed by the rain, stayed out in the mud, and hardened by
the frost. With -20 degrees C.,  the wine would often freeze up in the chalice during the Elevation.
 
With the support of the Cardinal,  Fr.Kurzeja succeeded in receiving a building permit to first,
erect a small parish hall including a chapel for catechism instruction, and then build a church.
His next major challenge was to obtain building materials, as well as money, which was extremely difficult in Communist Poland. He turned for help to various parishes including the
ones he used to serve.
 
Despite continuous weekly interrogations, he managed to finish the building for religious instruction and initiated the construction of the church. Unfortunately, he did not live to witness the blessing of the foundation stone. He died on August 15, 1976, the feast day of
the Assumption of Our Lady to whom his mother offered her son as dedication on the second
day of his life.
 
His funeral turned into a manifestation of faith and grief, with thousands of people, or, rather,
thousands of the faithful, who deep in thought, with tears in their eyes, attended the last
ceremony of their shepherd. It seemed , as if, on that day, nobody  stayed home. Everybody came out to honour:  there were the elderly, the young, the sick, mothers holding children in their arms, somebody pushing a wheelchair and students.
 
In spite of relentless persecution, interrogation, trials and fines, the  “green hut” survived until
December 1, 1973. On that day, the Blessed Sacrament, in solemn procession, was carried to
a chapel of a new church that was being built – named after St..Maximilian Kolbe. The authorities demanded that within 7 days, by December 12, 1973, the “green hut” be demolished,  and the foundations torn from the earth so as no trace be left behind. 
 
But traces did remain. Where the “green hut” once stood, there is now, since December 1,1991, a small chapel devoted to Our Lady of Grace.   It was on that day and to that
chapel that the Lord returned in the Blessed Sacrament during a solemn Holy Mass.
And He returns to this historic place every year – on August 14 – the day of the Patron of our
parish, St.Maximilian Kolbe. It was also here that Fr.Kurzeja, the founder of our parish community and the builder of our church, deep in the memory of those who happened to know him, entrusted his work to St.Maximilian Kolbe in 1970.
 
Barbara Frydel
 
 
PRAYER REQUESTS OR FAVOURS RECEIVED
 
As part of the beatification process of the Servant of God Father Canon Joseph Kurzeja,
a Holy Mass is said every third Thursday of the month at 6 p.m., in the chapel located in the
narthex of the church. After Mass, we gather in the crypt by the sarcophagus of Fr.Kurzeja to
entrust to God, through his intercession, our prayer petitions and thanks for the favours received.
 
You may enter your prayer intentions or favors received. ( see below )
 
Should you have been granted a special favour, please, provide a detailed description of the case – to help in the beatification process - in case we need to contact you for more information.
 
You may  also drop your prayer intentions or favors received into the boxes – in the narthex of the church, or in the crypt – as well as to contact us, by mail,at the parish address.
 
Your Name
Your E-mail
Subject: select from the list
 
Prayer for the beatification of the Servant of God Father Joseph Kurzeja
 
O Merciful God, You filled the heart of Your Servant Father Joseph, with the living faith,
thanks to which, he courageously  followed  the path of the Gospel, and sacrificed his life
for the service of Your people. By founding a community of prayer in Mistrzejowice, and
building a church for it, he became a sign of Your presence among us.
Grant, gracious God, that our first parish priest may , promptly, be raised to the glory of the
altars. Trusting that the Servant of God Fr. Joseph Kurzeja, rejoices in seeing God, face to
face, through his intercession, we pray, grant us the graces we need…
Servant of God, help us to overcome the difficulties which we encounter in our personal,
family, professional, and parish life. Increase our faith, give us courage, and make us grow
in love, so that we may be able to continue building  a community of faith around us.
Through Christ, our Lord. Amen
 
 
 
Homily of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, delivered after the death of Fr. Canon Joseph
Kurzeja during the Holy Mass, Mistrzejowice, September 13, 1976
 
 
Dear Parishioners of Mistrzejowice,
 
On the day when you attended the funeral of your parish priest, the late Fr. Joseph Kurzeja –
which deeply affected the whole local parish community – I was away from Poland, and
could not take part in that grand event.
Today, just on my return – a few weeks after his death already – I consider it my duty, as
well as a heartfelt need, to be here to say what a bishop should say, over the coffin of a dead
priest; I have no hesitation in calling him – the extraordinary priest.
 
The fact that he passed away, not even,  living to the age of forty, is meaningful on its own.
One  might think that a man, strong as he was, could have carried on his shoulders the burden
of confronting life’s adversities for many more years. Yet, strong and vigorous in appearance, he had a weakened heart, strained nerves and other health problems.
 
He looked so healthy no one even suspected that this young priest would die prematurely.
Last spring we feared that his last hour had come. God, however, let him resume his duties
for a few months. Unfortunately, it all came to a crash in August this summer, and he was
completely burned out. This is how the doctor might have commented on this. I, as a bishop – his and yours – have been aware of the condition of his health - exhaustion and health
problems he had been bearing for years.
 
This is not, however, the reason for my giving today testimony to the truth. Testimony to the truth I came to give is of a different order. Why did he depart? Why did he depart so early?  I would say: he wanted to give himself entirely, to the cause which he had chosen, the cause which he had served for – the cause which, his Master, his Lord and God Jesus Christ, had called him for. It is this cause that he wanted, entirely, to dedicate himself to.
 
Everybody saw his sacrificial work;  all of you, here, residents  of Mistrzejowice, had witnessed this since the autumn of 1970. You all realized that, and you all stood by him.  It was necessary that you stood by him, so he could be as he was: so that he could dedicate himself,  from the beginning to the end.
 
 Dear Brothers and Sisters, this was his secret I came to know about.  I can even repeat his words: never are such words forgotten - they were the words he spoke to me, in the summer of 1970. He came to me – his superior and bishop – to ask for permission to build, in Mistrzejowice, a house for catechism instruction - here, where, as you remember very well, there was nothing but that ‘green hut”, which gave rise to your parish community – that was what he had asked for.  He knew what he was asking for would require him to pay a high price, but still  would add lightheartedly – he was well- known for his sense of humour, as you know – “ If I happen to suffer for this cause, it’ll only do me good”.
 
 
My dear Brothers and Sisters, we do say such things to keep it light. You can say such things
about yourself. Sometimes, we do say so about ourselves. However, when behind these words, there is some reality, then words like these, gain in importance, acquire different value, and different price. At that time, we were talking casually, but I remembered those words.
Any jokes? No, they are long forgotten, but I do remember those words, and I will not forget
them until the end of my life. The words uttered humorously then, conveyed the price of his sacrifice: the sacrifice he had made already. He knew that he was going into the unknown; he sensed that he would have to pay a high price for the cause he was undertaking. Yet, he was determined to go – following an order he had received. Not from the bishop: he came to the bishop for permission to take it up.
 
He received this order from his inner Master, Master of his heart, Master of his conscience -   from Christ Crucified, the Eternal Priest. And this imperative – he, as a  priest of Jesus Christ, a good priest – could not but obey. He knew that he had to answer it: this innermost calling; and pursue it whatever the future may bring. Reflecting on those past years, we know only too well, what a high price he had to pay from the very first weeks and months.  It is not my intention, though, to awaken memories, or examine the past. But, honestly, I am convinced that it was from the very beginning that his weak heart and his frail nerves – must
have greatly aggravated his suffering.
 
But that was not what was the most important to him;  nor should it be for us today. What was the most important, then and now is that never - even when going through the worst trials experiences –had any doubts that it was what Christ demanded from him. And, never lost  hope to manage somehow. 
 
What did Christ demand from him? Christ demanded that he should walk into this large and
modern town, inhabited by believers, Christians , people lacking centers for pastoral
instruction,  churches and chapels -  people  who were in need of , and wanted these badly.
Christ demanded that he, through his life, should make an effort to carry the burden of the
Gospel, just as it was laid on the Apostles. Christ said: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”. And that is why, Fr. Joseph would sometimes smile; he actually always smiled and was cheerful. 
 
Yet, you know very well - as well as I do, as his bishop – what burden, and what cross he had
been carrying on his shoulders since 1970; the year of his ultimate calling, great obedience,
and profound hope. I do remember coming in 1971, for the first time here, to this hut of Mistrzejowice – to say the Midnight Mass: and  what do I find there? The image of Blessed Maximilian Maria Kolbe, and  of Mother of God – the expression of that great hope he was inspired by, and that great hope - you, with him together - were inspired by. 
 
My dear Brothers and Sisters, priests, and all the parishioners of Mistrzejowice, I do not
intend to go through all the aspects or details of this story you are so familiar with.   You all know very well, and  I came to give testimony that your late parish priest laid his life for this great cause – establishing a pastoral center, and building the church in Mistrzejowice.
And Christ the Lord Crucified, Christ the Eternal Priest, accepted finally his sacrifice last  August - the year when the construction  of the church started -  after  years of  preparations, and trying to gain permission to build a church.
 
Today, once more, we wish to entrust his soul to Lord our God.  Lord our God, himself, more than anyone else,  knows best, the mystery of his life, the mystery of his heart, his conscience, his priesthood. The Lord our God, Pre-eternal Father, himself, knew that the life of this priest  was to extinguish -  so early and at such a moment.
 
We, in a human way, feel that his departure, his burial is but a particle of what is left of him. We – as humans, as I said – feel that although he is lying there, in the Grębałów cemetery, actually he has been set in, like a foundation stone, in the building of this church, in the building of this community, which is a living church in Mistrzejowic - becoming its
foundation stone. And this is the most remarkable testament he left us with.
 
 
You know only too well that Christ is the foundation stone of any building; and when the
foundation stone is blessed during the construction of the church – as it is soon going to
take place here – then, we are reminded of this truth: the truth of Christ being the foundation stone of this church, as well as the entire spiritual building of the Church on earth.
 
The priest - who like the foundation stone, for ever, laid himself in the building of the church
of Mistrzejowice, and the church whose outline can already be seen, as well as the one of the
living stones, the living Church – thereby gained  resemblance to Christ. And with this
resemblance, did he go into eternity, as well as to the memory of all those who will, ever,
be the members of this church.
 
We must engrave this life and this death upon our hearts. We must keep forever these memories and remember the beginnings of the church in Mistrzejowice: the beginnings of the living Church ; and the church being built now – remember what were its beginnings? It must be treasured; kept for ever in our hearts, our memories; and recorded in history. And, as for our departed brother, seeing in him the  resemblance to Christ – the Living Stone of the Church – is the finest tribute you, the People of God of this church can pay him – with the
blessing of your bishop.
 
We pray for his soul. We feel we need, through this prayer, to meet with Christ, and through
this prayer, in Christ, to meet with our departed. We pray for him, but praying in this way, at the same time, we feel some special need to give thanks to the Living God; to give thanks to
Christ the Lord for giving us this priest; for the testimony to his life, short, yet so meaningful
- how meaningful for our times; for the great struggle for God’s Kingdom, at the turn of the
first and the second Millennium, on the Polish soil.
 
We thank Christ the Lord for this Priest, for his testimony. We ask of Christ that we may be
impressed by the testimony to the life and death of Joseph,  the priest; that we may be fascinated by his testimony; that we may be prepared to follow him, and act as he did – be determined and stop at nothing, as far as the Kingdom of God is concerned, as far as the Church of Jesus Christ is concerned, as for the matter of our beliefs, our faith, our attitudes – so that we may be as he was.
 
We are all praying for this before this altar. For one thing more, we are praying. It is common knowledge that death puts an end to human life on earth, and pushes the man off the surface of the earth:  “ For dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return”; this is common knowledge.  Jesus Christ, however, overcame  death. Jesus Christ Crucified left us with the mystery of his resurrection, and we all, the living and the dead, share in it. We pray that
our beloved brother Joseph – your parish priest, founder of the Mistrzejowice church – may
share in this mystery of the resurrection of Christ. So that in the mystery of the resurrection
of Christ, he may share. For this, we pray at this altar, through the intercession of Mary the
Queen of Poland, and Maximilian Maria Kolbe – whom he trusted so much. Amen.
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