In a thanksgiving Eucharist marking 60th death anniversary of Cardinal Augusta Josef Hlond the primate of Poland was celebrated at church of St Stanislaw on via delle Botteghe Oscure Rome, 22 October.
The assembly also recalled another Polish servant of God, Pope John Paul II, marking 30th anniversary of his taking charge in the Vatican.
The Secretary of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints Archbishop Edward Nowak, another son of Poland, presided over the celebration in Polish language.
There were 31 concelebrants and some 120 Polish faithful crowding the little Polish Church. A Polish language choir too was in attendance.
During the Eucharist a two-volume hardbound books containing Cardinal Hlond’s POSITIO (Case) were made public. The Congregation of the Saints case number of card. Hlond is number 1808. Both volumes together contain 1,654 pages of text and 15 pages of photos.
The members of the organizing committee included: Bishop Stephan Wesoly, Superior General of the Society of Christ for the Polish Immigrants Fr Tomasz Sielicki, Salesian Postulator General for the Cause of the Saints Fr Enrico dal Covolo and Fr Stanislaw Zimniak in-charge of the historical research on Card. Hlond at the Salesian Historical Institute, Pisana.
After the Mass a 51 minute film on Cardinal Hlond in Polish language was screened.
All three brothers became Salesians
Augustus was born at Brzechowice, Poland on 5 July 1881. Attracted by the fame of Don Bosco, already at the age of 12, Hlond followed his elder brother to Italy to be ale to consecrate himself in the Salesian Congregation. This encouraged two more of his brothers to do the same.
Distinguished path of leadership
He was admitted to the novitiate and received the clerical habit from the hands of Blessed Michael Rua, in 1896. Having completed his studies in the Gregorian University, he returned to Poland for his regency (Practical Training) at Oswiecim. Augustus was ordained a priest on 23 September 1905. He was appointed Rector of the new house of Pizemysl (1907-09) and later that of Vienna (1909-19). In 1919 when the Austro-Hungarian province was divided, he was made Provincial (1919-22). In two years the young Provincial was able to found some ten new houses.
Bishop of Katowice, then Cardinal
having worked as Apostolic Administrator, he was ordained Bishop of Katowice on 3 January 1926. On 24 June of the same year, Bishop Augustus became the Primate of Poland. In the following year on 20 June, the Pope nominated him Cardinal. He was also in charge of the Polish people dispersed in various parts of the world. For this he founded a Congregation named ” Society of Christ for Polish Immigrants”.
The Calvary years of war
With the Second World War his Calvary started. Cardinal Hlond was forced into exile till the end of the war, at first in Rome from where he started a courageous defence of his fatherland. It intensified in France when he took shelter at Lourdes. >From there the Nazi police deported him to Paris so that he could form a Polish government favourable to them. But the Cardinal resolutely refused it. Hence the Nazis imprisoned him, first at Lorene and later at Westphalia. However, the Allied Forces freed him and was able to return to Poland where he was appointed Archbishop of Warsaw. Earlier he had defended his people from the horrors of Nazism, so now with his vigorous pastoral letters; he continued to defend them from Bolshevist atheism.
Triumph in death
God protected him from more than one attempt on his life, reserving for him the death of a great Patriarch on 22 October 1948. His funeral was a real triumph. For the first time in the history of Poland the internment took place in the cathedral itself.