Cardinal Wysyznski was a very significant person during the Cold War. He became the Primate of Poland when made a cardinal in 1953 by Pope Pius XII.
Additionally he will be known historically as the mentor of Pope John Paul II. Cardinal Wysynski proposed Karol Wojtyla to be an auxiliary bishop in Poland.
Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II.
Throughout Wojtyla’s life he was his mentor and his partner.
Cardinal Wysznski was beatified in Warsaw, Poland, on September 12, 2021, a ceremony that was postponed because of the pandemic.
Take a moment to watch the YouTube of the two of them featured below.
About Cardinal Wyszynski, Primate of Poland
The modern world needs to be reminded of the great truth that men are called for eternal life and that their life does not end here, on earth. Our faith in eternal life has a very important meaning: it teaches us to respect men. We must always remember that man is the most important, most precious, most splendid work of God.
The excerpt is from the homily delivered by Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, the Primate of Poland, on May 24, 1964, at the tomb of the Servant of God Fr. Stanislaus Papczyński in Góra Kalwaria near Warsaw.
Stefan Wyszynski was born in a village called Zuzela on August 3, 1901, in what was then Russian territory due to the partitions of the late 18th century. At that time the Russian Empire had attempted to make the Polish people abandon their traditions and national awareness. His mother died when he was nine years of age. In 1912 his father sent him to Warsaw to complete his education. He enrolled in seminary and was ordained on his twenty-fourth birthday in 1924.
The next four years were spent in Lublin where he earned a doctoral degree in Canon Law and Social Sciences. Upon graduation he traveled extensively in Europe furthering his education. He then taught at the seminary in Wloclawek. His life changed dramatically with the onset of World War II in 1939 and with the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. At first he assumed pastoral duties for working class people, but eventually he became chaplain to members of the resistance movement. After the war, Wyszynski started a restoration project for the devastated seminary, became its rector and editor of a Catholic periodical.
On March 25th, 1946, Pope Pius XII appointed him Bishop of Lublin and on November 12, 1948, Archbishop of Warsaw. His life was filled with political upheaval. While the war had ended in 1944, a large segment of Poland was engaged in hostilities with the Stalinist government. The Catholic Church actively supported the anti-Communist government. In 1950 Wyszynski signed an agreement with the civil authorities that allowed the Church to hold property, separated church and state, prohibited religious teaching in public schools and allowed for civil authorities to select a bishop from three candidates. In 1953, more persecution swept Poland. When bishops supported the resistance, mass trials and imprisonment of priests began and Cardinal Wyszynski was among them. In 1953, he began his imprisonment in various locations enduring brutal torture and mistreatment, some highly perverse in nature. He was released in 1956.
Pope Pius XII elevated him to the rank of cardinal on January 12, 1953. He never stopped his religious and social work, the crowning achievement of which was the celebration of Poland’sMillennium of Christianity in 1966, the thousandth anniversary of the baptism of Poland’s first prince, Mieszko I. The Communist authorities refused to allow Pope Paul VI to visit Poland, and they prevented Cardinal Wyszynski from attending any celebrations outside of Poland connected to the millennium. In 1978, his brother bishop, Karol Wojtyla of Krakow became Pope John Paul II. Though sometimes at odds with each other, he will be known historically as the mentor of John Paul II. Cardinal Wysznski proposed Karol Wojtyla to be an auxiliary bishop in Poland.
Cardinal Wyszynski worked hard during the Solidarity movement in Poland, appealing to the government and the striking workers to be responsible for their actions.
Cardinal Wyszynski, the Primate of the Millennium died on May 28th, 1981. He was seventy-nine years of age.
Wyszyński is credited with helping to preserve and strengthen Christianity in Poland during the Communist regime’s persecution 1945-1989.
He is known as the “Primate of the Millennium” because as Primate of Poland he oversaw a nine-year program of preparation culminating in a nationwide celebration of the millennium of Poland’s baptism in 1966.
Given that Wyszyński is admired across the world, “we must make it possible for a wide range of faithful, including Poles and guests from abroad, to participate in the beatification ceremonies,” Cardinal Nycz explained.
“For this reason, after the pandemic is over, we will organize the beatification ceremony in Warsaw in a dignified and elevated way, and at the same time modest and taking into account the expected effects of the pandemic.”
Cardinal Nycz clarified that the committee overseeing the beatification had been suspended, rather than dissolved. The Church would continue to work with local and national authorities in preparation for the event, he said.
The Vatican announced the approval of a miracle attributed to Wyszyński’s intercession last October.
The miracle involved the healing of a 19-year-old woman from thyroid cancer in 1989. After the young woman received the incurable diagnosis, a group of Polish nuns began praying for her healing through the intercession of Wyszyński, who died of abdominal cancer in 1981.
In 1953, Wyszyński was placed under house arrest by Communist authorities for three years for refusing to punish priests active in the Polish resistance against the Communist regime.
He helped to secure the approval of Karol Wojtyła as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, which ultimately led to Wojtyła’s election as Pope John Paul II in 1978.
Wyszyński died May 28, 1981, 15 days after Pope John Paul II was shot in an assassination attempt in 1981. Unable to attend the cardinal’s funeral, John Paul II wrote in a letter to the people of Poland, “Meditate particularly on the figure of the unforgettable primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński of venerated memory, his person, his teaching, his role in such a difficult period of our history.”
About the Video
The YouTube is included to show the great affection with which Pope John Paul II greeted his brother in Christ at the time of his elevation to the papacy.
St. John Paul, pray for us!