The Consulate General of Poland in New York and the Polish-American community
organizations will be organizing a public event in McCarren Park, Brooklyn in response
to last week’s vandalism of the Father Popieluszko Statue. Father Popieluszko was a
priest but his message goes well beyond the teachings of God. He was a freedom
fighter who through his homilies inspired the Polish nation to rise up against the
communist totalitarian regime. He was called “The Priest of Solidarity ” and worked
closely with Lech Walesa and John Paul II to abolish communism in Poland and
ultimately in Europe.
The Iron Wall collapsed in 1989 but Father Popieluszko didn’t live to see that moment.
He was murdered in 1984 by the communist police. He is considered a blessed martyr
by the Catholic Church and he is one of the great symbols of the freedom fight of the
Polish people and the “Solidarity” Movement that spearheaded the fight against
communism in Europe.
Polish-Americans in Brooklyn dedicated a statue to his honor in 1990. 11,000 people
came to the grand unveiling of the statue. Tragically, in the last 30 years the statue has
been vandalized 5 times and at one point the priest’s head was cut off. Las’t weeks
vandalism has caused a great outrage, anger and sadness in the Polish community in
New York and all over the world as the wide media coverage of the vandalism was
reported well beyond New York.
The Saturday May 15 event is created by the Polish-American leaders to heal the
wounds and to bring peace and comfort to the community. We will focus on educating
the community on who Father Popieluszko was and we want to give the politicians and
community leaders a chance to show that they care about the Polish-American
community in Brooklyn and that they stand with us against any hate crimes that happen
in our borough.
The event’s programing will be as follows:
1 pm – Public speeches by community leaders, local politicians, The Consul General of
The Republic of Poland in New York Adrian Kubicki and The Auxiliary Bishop of the
Brooklyn Diocese Witold Mroziewski.
1:30 pm – Press conference with the local and international media
(CBS 2, News 12, Daily News, 1010 Wins, Polish Press Agency, TVP – Polish National
television and 8 other Polish media outlets)
2:00 pm – Open Air Lesson conducted by the teachers from the Polish Saturday
Schools. The lesson will focus on the life and legacy of Father Jerzy Popieluszko,
Freedom of Speech, Solidarity and the fight against totalitarian communist regimes.
The event will be attended by all Polish-American community leaders, organizations ,
children from Polish Schools, parents, teachers, scout’s organizations, parishioner from
all Polish and Italian churches in Greenpoint. It will be covered by the Polish Press
Agency and Polish National Television and most local media.