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    Polish Priest Martyred by Communists to Be Beatified: “I Will Not Renounce My Cross”

    On June 15, the Polish martyr, Father Michał Rapacz, will be elevated to the altars. Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Kraków highlighted Father Rapacz’s unwavering stance against the local communists in Trzebinia, which led to his death sentence. Despite an investigation after 1989 identifying the perpetrators, no charges were pressed, and the case was dismissed.

    The beatification ceremony will take place on June 15 in Kraków’s Łagiewniki. Archbishop Jędraszewski noted that Father Rapacz, guided by the Holy Spirit, courageously upheld God’s eternal law in his prayers and teachings, despite the threat of death. The archbishop recounted how Father Rapacz faced his executioners, saying, “Thy will be done, Lord.”

    The beatification coincides with the closing celebrations of the Eucharistic Congress of the Archdiocese of Kraków. Pope Francis approved the decree for Father Rapacz’s beatification on January 24.

    Born in Tenczyn, Małopolska, Father Michał Rapacz entered the Higher Theological Seminary of the Archdiocese of Kraków in 1926 and was ordained in 1931. Serving as a vicar in Płoki, he became a dedicated shepherd to the youth, sick, and poor. During World War II, the Soviet Red Army’s occupation of Chrzanów County made him a target for communists. Despite warnings and a death sentence, he refused to leave Płoki, famously declaring, “Even if I fall dead, I will not cease to preach the Gospel and will not renounce my cross.”

    Father Rapacz collaborated with the Home Army during the war and later aided soldiers hiding from the communist secret police, the UB. On the night of May 11-12, 1946, a communist militia broke into his rectory, read his death sentence, and took him to the forest, where he was executed.

    An investigation in 1996 confirmed the identities of the culprits, but they faced no charges, and the case was closed six years later. Father Rapacz’s martyrdom fostered a local cult in Małopolska, and his beatification process began in the Kraków Archdiocese in 1992.

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