Marian Helper Spring 2023

The ravages of war are broadcast daily on television and the web, atrocities committed by Russia on Ukraine as the first anniversary of the invasion approaches. Thousands of innocent Ukrainians have perished, along with countless Russian soldiers. Our Marian Fathers in Kharkiv and other cities are in the line of fire, enduring hardships, yet persevering daily to serve their communities and shine the light of Christ in the darkness. We cannot yet know how many martyrs will emerge from the Ukraine war. But such wickedness brings to mind the fact that “Team Marian” includes seven Marian priests who were martyred by Nazi Germany and Soviet Communism. Each Marian is on the road to canonization. They died for the faith. Let us make sure they are remembered, and ask for their prayers. Twin evils The 20th century saw the rise of two great evils: Nazism and Soviet Communism. Both movements thrived parasitically through oppression. Believing a warped ideology of racial purity, Hitler and the Nazis advanced racial genocide, killing millions of Jews and also non-Jewish people with disabilities, Poles and Slavs, Romani, homosexuals, and others. Similarly, Stalin and the Soviet Communists extinguished millions, breeding fear with false accusations and cruel “interrogation” methods to silence dissident voices, advancing their atheistic agenda. Poland and its sister Slavic nations suffered tremendously at the hands of the Nazis and Soviets. It is fitting, then, that Jesus appeared to a humble Polish nun to reveal His redemptive message of Divine Mercy. Saint Faustina communicated in her Diary a message from Jesus specifically concerning Russia. Shortly before Stalin’s Great Purge in 1937, Jesus said to Faustina: “I cannot suffer that country any longer. Do not tie my hands, My daughter” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 818). She also warned her fellow sisters that a “long and terrible war” was coming, meaning World War II, which began with Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, just one year after Faustina’s death. Clearly, Jesus revealed His merciful message at the place and time when it was desperately needed. Marian Blesseds These great evils contradict the essential dignity of the person in that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. Incredibly, many Catholics, including members of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, defended their faith, knowing full well that standing up for what was right and holy could get them killed. In this way, Marian Fathers Blessed Anthony Leszczewicz (18901943) and Blessed George Kaszyra (1904-1943) were martyred by the Nazis. By Dr. Veronica Szczygiel Remember the martyrs 24 Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian Martyrs 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.