In a historic ceremony on Sunday, Pope Francis declared the Ulma family blessed, marking the first-ever beatification of an entire family. Joseph and Wiktoria Ulma, along with their seven children, were martyred on March 24, 1944, for their courageous act of sheltering Jews during World War II.
Cardinal Semeraro Delivers Papal Letter Granting Beatification to Ulma Family
Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, representing Pope Francis, delivered the Apostolic Letter in Latin during the moving beatification ceremony held in Markowa. The letter, which was later read in Polish, granted the title of Blessed to the Venerable Servants of God, Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma, recognizing them as faithful laymen who fearlessly sacrificed their lives as good Samaritans. They welcomed persecuted individuals into their home, demonstrating love for their fellow human beings.
Pope Francis decreed that the memory of the Ulma family would be celebrated annually on July 7 “in the places and the manner prescribed by law.” The official letter, bearing the Pope’s signature from Rome, Lateran, was dated August 15, 2023, coinciding with the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Following the announcement of the beatification, an image of the newly declared blesseds was unveiled, and their relics were introduced into the presbytery. This solemn moment was presided over by Msgr. Roman Chowaniec, the parish priest of Markowa, who was joined by relatives of the Ulma family.
Pope Francis Blesses Ulma Family Beatification in Markowa: A Celebration of Martyrs and Sacrifice
The ceremony reached its emotional pinnacle when Pope Francis, connected remotely from St. Peter’s Square in Rome, imparted his blessing. He spoke of the Ulma family, emphasizing their example of doing good and serving those in need, urging everyone to follow in their footsteps.
Addressing the faithful gathered in Markowa, Pope Francis remarked, “Today in Markowa, Poland, we celebrate the beatification of martyrs Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma and their seven children.”
Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, the Pope’s envoy and Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided over the beatification liturgy.
The ceremony was attended by prominent figures, including President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda, Marshal of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and representatives from various political parties. International guests and diplomatic and military representatives also joined in paying tribute to the Ulma family’s remarkable sacrifice.
Cardinal Semeraro’s Homily: The Unnamed Child’s Powerful Message for a Culture of Life
In his homily, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro emphasized the significance of the tiny child that Wiktoria carried in her womb at the time of her tragic death, a child who was born amid the horrors of his mother’s slaughter. He stated, “Although it did not yet have a name, today we call it blessed.”
The Cardinal emphasized that this beatification holds a timely message, as this innocent child, who never uttered a word, now calls upon the modern world to embrace, love, and protect life from the moment of conception to natural death, especially the lives of the vulnerable and marginalized. He underscored the child’s role in challenging a society where practices like abortion, euthanasia, and the devaluation of life persist.