Catholic Priest who was Executed by the Nazis is Beatified in Poland Blessed Jan Franciszek Macha

The beatification of the Servant of God, the priest Jan Franciszek Macha, will take place on Saturday, November 20th, at 10 am in the Christ the King Cathedral in Katowice. The solemn mass will be presided over by Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.

The liturgy is celebrated in Latin and Polish. The beatification rite follows immediately after the kyrie chant. It begins with the request of the Archbishop of Katowice to Pope Francis to accept the venerable Servant of God John Francis Macha into the circle of the blessed. Archbishop Skworc will present this request to the papal delegate, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro. The key moment of the beatification ritual will be the reading of the biography of Venerable John Francis Macha by the postulator - Damian Bednarski, professor at the University of Silesia. Then, on behalf of the Holy Father Francis, the apostolic letter is read out, with which the Pope will admit the venerable servant of God John Francis Macha into the circle of the blessed.

After the reading of the beatification formula, the picture of Blessed John Francis Macha, painted by Prof. Antoni Cygan, the former rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, will be unveiled. The relics are brought to the sanctuary by the family of the new blessed. 

It is the last letter that John Macha wrote to his parents and siblings shortly before his death, a rosary he made and a blood-stained handkerchief.

During the beatification we will hear the Missa Ioannis Pauli Secundi, written by Henryk Jan Botor, a composer from Tychy. The composition was first performed at World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow.

A prayer vigil will take place before the mass at 9 a.m. At the end of the vigil there will be a piece of music for organ and violin that Professor Julian Gembalski composed especially for the occasion. It is played on the violin that the servant of God, John Francis Macha, used to play. The instrument was thoroughly restored in the artistic violin making workshop of Aleksandra and Arkadiusz Gromek in Katowice.

The cathedral is open to the faithful from 8 a.m. One area inside the church is reserved for invited guests, while the remaining seating and standing areas are for anyone wishing to attend the ceremony.

We encourage you to come early and secure the available seats, "says Tomasz Wojtal, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Katowice. The organizers have also provided screens so that anyone who does not fit in the cathedral can attend the celebration." The the first will be placed in the academic church in the basement of the cathedral, the second in John Paul II Square in front of the cathedral, "added the spokesman.

"In addition, the participants in the liturgy are asked to observe the basic rules of hygiene: disinfect their hands (at the entrance to the cathedral), cover their mouth and nose with a mask and keep a suitable distance," the spokesman appealed on behalf of the organizers .

Rafał Skitek / Radio eM Katowice

The Servant of God John Macha was born on January 18, 1914 in the traditional Silesian family of Paweł Macha and Anna, née Cofałka, in Chorzów Stary. He had two sisters and a brother. In the family he was nicknamed "Hanik". He was active in scouts and sports. He was also active in the Catholic Youth Association. In 1934 he entered the Silesian Theological Seminary in Kraków. On June 25, 1939, he was ordained a priest by Bishop Stanislaw Adamski in the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Katowice.

After a two-month replacement in his home parish, he took over the parish position at the parish church of St. Joseph in Ruda Śląska on September 10th. There he made contact with the secret organization and developed a lively charitable activity among the Polish families affected by the occupation. On September 5, 1941, John Macha was arrested by the Gestapo at the Katowice train station. He was found with a list of people he and his staff had helped and other documents showing that they had raised money and given it to those in need. The list was one of the most important pieces of evidence in the ensuing investigation and trial of the entire group. On July 17, 1942, there was a brief hearing before the express court in Katowice, at which Macha and his collaborating seminarian Guertler were sentenced to death by beheading. The sentence was carried out on December 3, 1942 in the Katowice Prison.

Macha's body, which was never released to his family, was most likely cremated in Auschwitz concentration camp. In a letter he wrote a few hours before his execution, Macha asked his family to "set up a quiet corner in the cemetery so that from time to time someone might think of me and the Our Father may pray for me". His request was granted years later, in October 1951, when, on the initiative of his classmates, a symbolic grave for Father John was set up in the old cemetery of the parish of St. Maria Magdalena in Chorzow Stary.

At the diocesan level, the process of beatification of Jan Macha began in 2013 and lasted until September 5, 2015. After that, the documents were submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. On March 16, 2016, the Act was opened to the public and the Roman phase of the beatification process began. The decree confirming the martyrdom of the Servant of God John Francis Macha, priest of the Archdiocese of Katowice, was approved by Pope Francis on November 28, 2019. Among other things, the future blessed is to become the patron of the Upper Silesian Seminary in Katowice.


Anonymous said…
It was German state that executed Fr. Macha. People involved might have been Nazis or not but they were Germans in occupied Poland. It is important for young people not well versed in history to know and remember that German state and German nation were fully involved and responsible for war crimes against humanity during WWII not only members of NSDAP (Nazis).