Father Jan Franciszek Macha, a Silesian priest involved in charity work and killed by the Nazis in 1942, was proclaimed Blessed on Saturday.
According to the content of the letter, published by Catholic Information Agency (among others), Andrzej Duda expressed his "joy and gratitude for the beatification of another Pole martyred by the German Nazis for his heroic love of God and his homeland, for his zealous service to the Church and his compatriots in the time of the gravest historical trial our nation went through.
The President briefly recalled the biography of Father Macha, who was born in 1914 in Chorzów. He descended from a working-class family, was a scout and a talented athlete and was active in the Catholic Youth Association. He graduated from the Silesian Theological Seminary in Cracow and theological studies at the Jagiellonian University; in June 1939 he was ordained a priest.
"The beginning of his ministry thus coincided with the outbreak of World War II and the tragedy of the German occupation. He worked first in Chorzow Stary and then in Ruda Śląska, in the parish of St. Joseph. There he encountered the immensity of injustice and poverty experienced by local Polish families - especially those whose breadwinners were killed or imprisoned by the invaders," - Andrzej Duda indicated.
Then Jan Franciszek Macha, with the help of scouts, began to develop charitable activities and formally joined the underground Polish Armed Organisation. He was soon arrested and then executed by the Gestapo on 3 December 1942 in Katowice. His body was most likely incinerated at Auschwitz.
The President pointed out that the memory of this self-sacrificing priest and righteous Pole has not been lost. "Nurtured at his symbolic grave in Chorzow Stary, it also lives on in the hearts and minds of those whom he helped and set an example of courageous, self-denial in service to others. In his person, the Poles in Upper Silesia lost a wonderful, devoted pastor and a model of a patriot in action - but they gained a mighty advocate: the blessed of the Catholic Church," he wrote.
"His life and work will remain an indelible historical testimony of the truth, a moving story about the criminal face of the German occupation in Poland, but also, to an even greater extent, about the deeply human, Christian and patriotic attitude of his and similar Polish clergy, conspirators, scouts and social activists of that time," - stressed Andrzej Duda.
Pr. Jan Franciszek Macha was born on January 18, 1914 in Chorzów Stary. He was a priest for less than three years. As a priest, he began to help the victims of the Nazi terror by organizing material and spiritual aid. In September 1941, he was arrested at the railway station in Katowice. He was tortured during numerous interrogations and then sentenced to death.
The sentence was executed by guillotine beheading on the night of December 2 and 3, 1942, in the Katowice prison on Mikołowska Street. At the time of his death “Hanik”, as his family called him, was less than 29 years old. He will be remembered as Blessed in the Church of Katowice on 2 December.
Source: Poland Daily 24, niezależna.pl