Heroic Polish martyr to be profiled on Colorado Public Television

Award-winning documentary 'Messenger of the Truth' to air on CPT12.2

The story of Blessed Father Jerzy Popieluszko, the courageous chaplain of the Solidarity movement in Poland in the early 1980’s, will air this Friday, May 2, at 7 p.m. on Colorado Public Television channel 12.2 (CPT12).

Messenger Of The Truth Trailer – 07-23-2013 from Nathan Elliott on Vimeo.

The award-winning documentary “Messenger of the Truth” tells the story of how Father Jerzy, with his strong faith, conviction and courage, mobilized a nation to stand against the communist regime. A 2oth century hero of human rights, he was murdered in 1984 by the Polish government.

Narrated by Catholic activist and actor Martin Sheen, the documentary chronicles Father Jerzy’s opposition to Poland’s oppressive Communist leaders, who harassed, arrested, threatened, imprisoned and, eventually, murdered him for speaking the truth in a country full of propaganda, oppression and social injustice.

“A must-see documentary for all who believe in the rights of religious liberty, the dignity of the human person, and those who are lovers of freedom and defenders of the truth,” says Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.

At Fr. Jerzy’s funeral, an estimated one million people surrounded his church in Warsaw and promised to continue his struggle for freedom through non-violence.

Blessed Pope John Paul II, a son of Poland and advocate for the end of communism in his country and around the world, admired Fr. Jerzy’s courageous stand for freedom and truth. In 1987, shortly before the fall of communism in Poland, Pope John Paul II prayed at his gravesite in a remarkable sign of his support for the young priest’s life and death.

Fr. Jerzy was beatified on June 6, 2010, in Warsaw.

“Messenger of the Truth” was awarded first place in the documentary category at the 28th International Catholic Film Festival in Warsaw, Poland and will be awarded the Christopher Award for the category of TV documentary on May 15th from The Christophers at their 65th annual award gala in New York City.

The 90-minute documentary is airing nationwide on American Public Television station in April and May.

Click here for program details

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.


Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash