The beatification of Józef and Wiktoria Ulma and their children encourages pastoral reflection on the role of the family, the sanctity of life, and the problem of helping others – said Archbishop Adam Szal, Metropolitan of Przemyśl, announcing the beatification ceremony of the Ulma Family, scheduled for 10th September this year in Markowa, in the archdiocese of Przemyśl.
Archbishop Szal admitted that the beatification of the martyrs from Markowa had been awaited and prayed for in the diocese for many years. As he stressed, it will be an unprecedented event because, in one act of beatification, the whole family will be raised to the glory of the altars: the parents Joseph and Wiktoria, and their seven children. Among them is also the unborn child that Wiktoria Ulma was carrying under her heart at the time of her execution.
The Ulma family and the Jews who found shelter in their home were executed by the German occupiers on 24th March 1944 in Markowa.
As the Metropolitan of Przemyśl said, the beatification celebrations will be an important event for the Church, not only historically, but also spiritually, prompting pastoral reflection on the role of the family, the sanctity of life, and the question of helping others. “The Ulma family can be the patron saint of all those who help the persecuted today, the refugees. So many people in our homeland have opened the doors of their hearts and homes, just as Józef and Wiktoria Ulma did, taking eight Jewish people under their roof, and earlier also helping other Jews who were persecuted at the time,” Archbishop Szal emphasized.
The Metropolitan of Przemyśl highlighted that the courageous attitude of the Ulma family resulted from their fidelity to the evangelical commandment of love of neighbor. As a result of the testimonies collected, the Ulmas’ friends and neighbors reminded them how much they were risking by hiding persecuted Jews. “Joseph explained at the time that the Jews were people too, that he would not throw them out. He was a real father, a man who, according to some witnesses, was also not ashamed to kneel to pray together with his children,” Archbishop Szal said.
“We would like the liturgical remembrance of the new blessed to be celebrated on 7th July each year, on the day of the Ulms’ marriage,” the Metropolitan of Przemyśl added.
BP KEP (Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference)
Translation: Sr. Ewa Dobrzelecka / Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference