Long-distance runners pay tribute to Solidarity priest
PR dla Zagranicy
Some 20 marathon runners have left the southern Polish mining city of Katowice for the Warsaw grave of Jerzy Popiełuszko, a Catholic priest who lost his life helping the anti-communist Solidarity movement.
Runners set off from Katowice. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Grygiel.
They are expected to complete the 320-kilometre distance on Thursday, which would have been Popiełuszko's 70th birthday had he not been killed by communist-era secret police in 1984.
The run started near a monument at the Wujek colliery in Katowice, commemorating nine miners who were killed by communist riot police in December 1981, several days after the imposition of martial law.
Popiełuszko was one of the staunchest supporters of Poland’s Solidarity freedom movement in the 1980s, serving as chaplain to workers at a Warsaw steel mill in 1980 and 1981.
During martial law, he celebrated monthly “Masses for the Homeland” that attracted tens of thousands of people to St. Stanislaus Church in Warsaw.
He fell foul of the regime for his homilies in which he called for freedom, justice and dignity for working people. On 19 October, 1984, he was abducted, tortured and murdered by secret police officers. Recognised as a martyr by the Catholic Church, he was beatified on 6 June, 2010. (mk/vb)