Marian Helper Spring 2023

Father Anthony was appointed superior of mission work in Rosica, a town that was occupied by the Bolsheviks in 1939 and then the Germans in 1941. To aid his evangelical mission, he summoned Fr. George to join him. In 1943, the Nazis terrorized Rosica, rounding up the elderly, mothers, and children into the Marian Fathers’ church. Fathers Anthony and George voluntarily stayed with the people all day and night, feeding the terrified victims, hearing confessions, praying, and administering the Holy Eucharist and other Sacraments. Ultimately, the Nazis set fire to Rosica and many neighboring villages. Though their lives ended in tragedy, Frs. Anthony and George were examples of great Christian courage, and for their martyrdom, Pope St. John Paul II beatified them among 108 martyrs of World War II in 1999. “The blessed martyrs cry to our hearts: Believe in God who is love! Believe in Him in good times and bad! Awaken hope! May it produce in you the fruit of fidelity to God in every trial!” the Pope said in his homily. Marian Servants of God Marian priests were also martyred by the Soviets. Five Marians are now Servants of God, and their causes for sainthood were opened to mark the 350th jubilee celebrations of the Marian Congregation. Father Fabian Abrantowicz, who ministered to Russian Catholics in China, was captured by German forces in 1939 and handed over to the Soviets. They imprisoned him in Moscow, where he brutally suffered and died in 1946. Pope Pius XII appointed Fr. Andrew Cikoto to replace him in China. However, in 1948, Chinese forces arrested him and likewise handed him over to the Soviets. Father Andrew was sentenced to 25 years in a labor camp, where he celebrated daily Mass, heard confessions, and ministered to the imprisoned. He died of failing health in 1952. Father Eugene Kulesza became superior of the Marian house in Druya, Belarus, in 1938, where he supported priests and nuns in defending their faith during Bolshevik persecution. Father Eugene was arrested and murdered in 1941 by Soviet soldiers fleeing the Germans. During this time, Fr. Vladislovas “Vladas” Mažonas was editor of the Catholic magazine “Šaltinis,” where he reported the Soviets’ persecution of Christians. The Soviets also arrested him in 1941. Deported to Siberia, Fr. Vladas was interrogated and tortured. He ultimately died in 1945. Later, in 1950, Fr. John Mendriks was arrested by the Soviet secret police and sentenced to a labor camp for 10 years. When prisoners protested after Stalin’s death in 1953, armed forces were summoned to intervene. Father John courageously moved to the front of the crowd, and as he recited the formula of absolution, the Soviets shot him dead. Jesus knew it wouldn’t be easy for us to follow Him, yet He calls us to spread His good news anyway. He asks us to trust in His Divine Mercy. He promises us eternal life. We must stay strong, as our Marian martyrs have modeled, making the ultimate sacrifice. If you have received graces through the intercession of the Marian Martys, please write: Br. Andrew Mączyński, MIC, Vice Postulator of the Marian Causes of Canonization, 2 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA, 01263. Email [email protected] “The Blood of the Martyrs is the Seed of the Church” — Tertullian The Marian Martyrs 1. Blessed Anthony Leszczewicz (1890-1943) 2. Blessed George Kaszyra (1904-1943) 3. Servant of God Vladislovas “Vladas” Mažonas (1881-1945) 4. Servant of God Eugene Kulesza (1891-1941) 5. Servant of God Andrew Cikoto (1891-1952) 6. Servant of God Fabian Abrantowicz (1884-1946) 7. Servant of God John Mendriks (1907-1953) The feast day of Blessed Anthony and Blessed George is June 12. They share the feast with 106 other martyrs of World War II. Talkin’ Marians STATS AND FACTS Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • 25 Jesus knew it wouldn’t be easy for us to follow Him, yet He calls us to spread His good news anyway. He asks us to trust in His Divine Mercy. He promises us eternal life. We must stay strong, as our Marianmartyrs have modeled, making the ultimate sacrifice.