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THE BEATIFICATION
OF FATHER MICHAEL SOPOCKO

On 28th September 2008 in the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Bialystok, Poland, the beatification
of Father Michael Sopocko took place. Father Sopocko was the confessor and spiritual director
of Saint Sister Faustina Kowalska, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus.



The beatification Mass was presided over by a personal delegate of the Holy Father, Archbishop Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints. The homily was delivered
by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Metropolitan of Cracow, Poland.


Archbishop Angelo Amato announced the act of beatification, reading the decree of Pope
Benedict XVI, issued on 26th September 2008 in the Vatican.

"… We, with our Apostolic Authority grant permission that the Venerable Servant of God
Michael Sopocko, presbyter, who devoted his life to proclaiming Divine Mercy, giving the example
of the priest's sanctity, be henceforth blessed and announce that his feast will be celebrated annually on 15th February, on the day of his birth into Heaven, in the places and in the way determined by the Law."


Those participating in the ceremony included: Apostolic Nuncio to Poland, Archbishop
Jozef Kowalczyk; Polish Primate, Cardinal Jozef Glemp; Metropolitan Archbishop of Vilnius, Lithuania, Cardinal Audrys Juozas Backis; Metropolitan Archbishop of Minsk-Mohilev, Belarus, Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz; Metropolitan of Foggi, Southern Italy, Archbishop Francesco
Pio Tamburino, cardinals, more than 100 bishops, 500 priests from Poland and abroad,
including Orthodox Archbishop Jakub of the Diocese of Bialystok-Gdansk.



In attendance were numerous representatives of many women's and men's religious congregations, including 100 sisters from the Congregation of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus
and 10 brothers from the Community of the Brothers of Merciful Jesus from Vilnius. Sisters
from the Congregation of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus also brought along pilgrims from
12 countries where the houses of the congregation are present.





Also in attendance were: Lech Kaczynski, the president of the Republic of Poland; the last President-in-Exile Ryszard Kaczorowski; the speaker of the Polish Parliament, members
of the Parliament, representatives of the City Authorities, representatives of the Polish Army
and representatives of the world of science.
More than 80,000 faithful worshippers of Divine Mercy participated in the ceremony and,
through television and radio transmissions, so did innumerable audiences of the faithful
all around the world.






On 28th September 2008,
following his Angelus prayer from Castel Gandolfo,
Italy, the Holy Father Benedict XVI greeted the celebration participants:

"Welcome Polish Pilgrims who have arrived to Castel Gandolfo. I especially extend my greetings
to those from Bialystok, Poland, who are participants in the beatification of the Servant of God, Father Michael Sopocko, the confessor and spiritual guide of St. Faustina Kowalska.
At his suggestion, [Sister Faustina] described her mystical experiences and revelations
of Merciful Jesus in her well-known Diary. And also thanks to his efforts, the famous image
of Jesus with the words "Jesus, I trust in you" came into being and was shared with the world.
This Servant of God became known as a zealous priest, teacher and promoter of the Divine
Mercy devotion. I rejoice with the Archdioceses of Bialystok and Vilnius and with all the faithful throughout the world to whom this message of Merciful Jesus is dear. Also my beloved predecessor, the Servant of God, John Paul II, most certainly rejoices in this beatification
in the Father's house. He is the one who entrusted the world to Divine Mercy.
That is why I repeat his wish: "May God who is rich in mercy bless all of you."



Speech of papal delegate Abp. Angelo Amato,
Prefect of the Congregation for Cases of Beatification and Canonization

1. Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Honored civilian, religious, and military Leaders, beloved Priests and Monastic Sisters, Ladies and Gentlemen. It was with great pleasure that I presided
over the beatification of Father Michael Sopocko, this extraordinary example of priestly sanctity.
In the diary of Saint Faustina Kowalska were found these encouraging words of Jesus:
"Write that day and night my eyes are upon him".

And who are Jesus' eyes upon? On Blessed Michael Sopocko, on this extraordinary Polish priest, positive role model for the young, confessor, and spiritual guide, who has joined other great modern Polish saints such as Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Saint Faustina Kowalska.

His extraordinary, holy life has already been presented. It was marked with and animated by faith, hope and charity. Now I would like to underline some attributes of Blessed Michael Sopocko
that continue to be relevant today.

2. First of all, he is a shining example of eternal beauty, "the imitation of Christ", "sequela Christi". To be a Christian means to live in truth, in freedom and in joy; it means to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Whatever conditions we find ourselves in and whatever we do,
our lives are "the imitation of Christ", "imitation Christi", which mirrors His goodness and mercy. This is what Michael Sopocko did.

We can ask ourselves the question: how can we imitate this Blessed Man in the practicing
of virtues and mercy? The answer is simple. Mercy is needed every day in our families. Every day wives must be understanding to their husbands and husbands must treat their wives accordingly
so as to continually strengthen and renew their faithfulness to each other. Every day parents also must be generous and forgiving with their own children, in their unending disobedience and shortcomings. However, children too must be patient toward their parents; they should imitate
their parents' good example and listen to their exhortations. As you can see, everyone can practice mercy, forgiveness and understanding at home, at work, in society, at all times, in any place.
Our society needs good, honest, generous, devoted citizens.

3. There is, however, a message that Blessed Father Sopocko in particular addresses
to the priests. Let them be unwavering in their pastoral zeal. It encourages them to form good hearts in themselves and be merciful, to be patient, tender and cordial, and also to persevere
in the catechization of children, teenagers and adults. It encourages priests to devote their time
to administering the indispensable sacrament of Reconciliation.

Today more than ever the faithful feel the need to open their souls to the confessors to hear words of consolation, forgiveness and benediction. The deepest joy of the heart comes from sacramental forgiveness. Let the confessional become the most important pulpit of priestly instruction. Dearest priests, be generous in forgiveness. This is how Blessed Michael Sopocko was. In this way we can again bring back joy of life to many human souls.

4. He was instrumental in leading the young nun, Sister Faustina Kowalska to sanctity.
An indispensable task of every priest is to spread God's mercy to those who are suffering;
another of his tasks is also to lead and direct the souls of people, consecrated or lay, on the road
to Christian perfection. Today, in the sea of opinions, a priest is called to be nourished by the word of Jesus in order to offer the faithful truth about God and the future of mankind. In a world of
a thousand different points of view it is difficult to discern the truth because no one shows
it to us in a clear and authoritative manner.

It is the responsibility of priests to show the truth of the Gospel to those of us who are lost.
It is their task to lead young people in the truth and the light which is Jesus Christ so that they
can become good Christians and honest citizens. The Gospel is not a barrier against happiness
but rather the opposite, it is a book of joy, a book of life which conquers death, and it is the light which dispels the darkness.

In our complex modern culture the Church needs priests who are able to be masters of spiritual life, experienced guides with wise knowledge about that which is good and that which is right. Youngsters and adults today need knowledgeable people who can direct their freedom towards choices agreeable with the Gospel.
In a world of false prophets who advertise only superficial remedies for our lives, a priest with humility and consistency must pursue the mission to be a shepherd of the souls of the people
and must practice true spiritual fatherhood. While parents give physical life, spiritual directors nurse and promote spiritual life. No one is born a Christian, but they become one "woe to him
that is alone, for when he falleth, he hath none to lift him up." (Ecclesiastes 4, 10) Spiritual directors are experienced guides who lead the faithful towards being virtuous and teach how to evade shortcomings. We need spiritual fathers more than ever in this modern secularized world.

5. Confession and spiritual direction: this is the priestly task which the blessed Michael Sopocko
set himself to so heroically in his lifetime. It is for this reason, for his ceaseless activity, that in his funeral homily he was called "Titan of work, hero, and God's fool" (I, 535).
His zeal in striving to save souls pushed him to try to become everything for everyone.
Eagerness to promote the devotion of Divine Mercy fired his heart and soul. It was his masterpiece. It was not unwise or careless zeal, however, but zeal used carefully and open to reflection.

It is his wise zeal that we owe the spiritual treasure of Sister Faustina Kowalska's diary to.
It is interesting to recall how the diary was conceived. From 1932 until 1942 Blessed Michael Sopocko was the confessor of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. There, in 1933 he met Sister Faustina Kowalska when she was confessing to him. During her lengthy confession Sister Faustina confided in him her private revelations concerning the Divine Mercy devotion. Her confessions were often prolonged and tried the patience of other nuns who were waiting for their turns. Because of this, Blessed Father Sopocko requested Sister Faustina to make her confessions
more concise, but also to keep notes and to give them to him. In this manner she started her diary.

Our Blessed Father Sopocko at first did not believe the supernatural character of the written experiences of Sister Faustina. After long and careful thought and an exacting theological examination he came to be convinced of their truthfulness. However, that was not all.
He devoted his life to propagating the Divine Mercy devotion and established the Congregation
of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus.

In this way the Most Holy Heart of Jesus, full of Mercy, formed two Apostles of God's love:
Saint Faustina Kowalska and Blessed Father Michael Sopocko. The Heart of Jesus encourages
us also to be propagators of forgiveness, offered and received, thankful for these two holy Apostles who did not only spread the word of the Gospel in their native Poland but also throughout the Church and the whole world. I wish all of you here all the best on this special and holy day.








Sarcophagus with the relics of the Blessed Father Michael Sopocko
in the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Bialystok, Poland.



PRAYER
for the obtaining of graces through the
intercession of the blessed Fr. Michael Sopocko

Oh Merciful God, you have made your blessed Fr. Sopocko, the apostle of your endless Mercy and the worshipper of Our Lady, the Mother of Mercy. Grant, through his intercession, that by praising your Mercy and arousing trust in your fatherly goodness,
I will obtain the grace of ................. . I ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...


PRAYER
for canonizacion of blessed Fr. Michael Sopocko.

Our Almighty Father, who, with Fatherly Goodness, always looks after those who come to You in hope and humility to enjoy Your Mercy, let to surround Your blessed Michael with the glory of Your Saints. Your blessed Michael, with all his words, deeds and testimony proclaimed to the world Your limitless mystery of the Divine Mercy, fully revealed in Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ who is alive and reigning for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

 

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