- September 28, 2012
To honour Father Sopoćko, who saved Jews
On Sunday, September 30 in Black Bor will be a ceremony of unveiling of the commemorative plaque dedicated to the blessed Father Michał Sopoćko. He was a priest-confessor of Saint Faustina, who had a vision of a painting “Jesus I trust in You” and, according to the newly discovered facts, rescued from certain death about 100 Jews from Vilnius.
Older citizens of Black Bor still remember this priest. They remember the days when he was hiding here from Gestapo prosecuting him for saving Jews from the Holocaust. He threw them a lifeline – baptized them, issued baptismal metrics and distributed lockets to wear around one’s neck.
Celebrations begin with Mass at 1 pm in the local church.
Then a solemn procession will be held to the place of the establishment of the plaque at Sadowa Street 16, next to the house of Krystyna Raczko. The initiator of this idea was a devotee of the Blessed Priest Krystyna Subotkiewicz, in love with Black Bor. She was joined in realization of this idea by a priest who celebrates masses in the local church, Father Jerzy Witkowski, and the local governor Tadeusz Aszkielaniec.
‘I’m very pleased that such a plaque was raised. Firstly, he was a very zealous and holy priest. The more respected because he lived in harsh and dangerous times. And most importantly, he was able to trust God implicitly in this whole mess. Today, the world is also full of anxiety and traps, and, therefore, this priest is so close to us and worthy to be followed’, said Father Witkowski.
On Sunday, the relics of the highest level (usually a small part of the body) of Blessed Father Sopoćko will be officially brought to the church.
On 6 October, Father Jerzy Witkowski organizes a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the Blessed to Bialystok to learn more about his biography, life and holiness.
Quiet, little-known priest, who worked in Vilnius, suddenly was called to great things. First, as Sister Faustina’s confessor, then as a zealous circulator of Divine Mercy during the war, he became an obstacle to the Nazi authorities. Gestapo began hunting for him because he helped Jews. The priest had to go into hiding. Thanks to God’s providence and active help of Felicja Wąsowska, the priest, dressed as a nun, was “smuggled” to Black Bor to the Ursuline Sisters – there were only three of them at that time. It was on 3 March 1942, a first memorable day of next 30 months of his life that he spent in secret under the care of the Sisters, using the name of Albert Rodziewicz (some people still call him so). Despite the fact that he was hidden, he was very active in this period of his life. The period of great praying and silent service to people. Father Michał Sopoćko saved lives of many people and healed many others spiritually.
‘And all this in peace and quiet, without heroic deeds. Somebody once said that holiness is, above all, a great simplicity. It is the simplicity of Father Michał that teaches us holiness’, said one of the residents of Black Bor.
‘In addition to the newly founded plaque in honour of the Blessed Priest, in our church a stained glass window of this noble priest was created. We have many other ideas for the future, not only related to Father Sopoćko’, says Tadeusz Aszkielaniec, the mayor.
For many years, many fine and notable events have been taking place in Black Bor, all thanks to the close cooperation of the mayor with the church, with school and people. The cemetery of the Ursuline Sisters is beautifully maintained and well cared, so is the local cemetery, where a large statue of the Risen Christ was raised lately. As the human wisdom provides, many good things can be done in harmony and unity. Local residents add that the Blessed Father helps them in everything.
Tłumaczenie Ewelina Zarembska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Ewelina Zarembska the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.