June 4, 2010.
Jerzy Popieluszko was a charismatic Catholic priest whose sermons and opposition to Poland’s Communist regime made him famous but also put his life at risk.
He has been recognized as a martyr by the Church and will be raised to the altar this month.
And this film “Popieluszko: Freedom is Within Us” recalls the life of the martyr who continues to inspire priests and religious around the world.
“To make a film about Father Popieluszko, it was kind of a duty. When I was a child and young boy he was speaking, he had the courage to loudly speak about what people were thinking but not talking and saying. He died for this.”
The Polish priest was associated with the Solidarity movement. He joined workers during strikes and helped families of persecuted and imprisoned workers.
He promoted respect for human rights and dignity of all people in light of the Gospel.
Father Popieluszko was vocal about his opposition to Communism and motivated people to protest against the movement.
In 1984, the 37-year-old Popieluszko was kidnapped by three secret police, led by the Interior Ministry of Poland. He was murdered and thrown into a river.
As the pope John Paul II said he died for us, like Christ. That’s why I thought when Poland is free we need to remember Father Popieluszko and when the next generation grows up, I thought I have to make a movie about him, otherwise no one else will do this.
The director says it took seven years to complete the film, but that he is very satisfied with the results.
Although he said he was too young to understand the sermons during Popieluszko's priesthood, he soon came to understand how important his work was.
“When he died I was already 16 and then I was as a scout present at his funeral among 600,000 people and then I understood how important he was for people. And for me he became kind of an example also for young men.”
The director hopes generations to come will be inspired by Father Popieluszko and this film will help.