Relics of two Polish Martyrs come to Ennis

Mass of welcome for relics of two Polish martyrs to take place at Ennis church

The Bishop of Killaloe will celebrate a mass of welcome for the relics of two Polish martyrs at a church in Ennis, the Poor Clare Chapel this week.

Bishop Fintan Monahan will celebrate mass in honour of Blessed Zbigniew Strzalkowski and Michal Tomaszek at the Poor Clare Chapel on Friday 5th of July, 2024.

In 1989, Blessed Zbigniew and Michal left their homeland for Peru to start missionary work in the Andes, where they worked in a parish consisting of 90 villages, with no water or power supplies.

In 1991, they were warned by the terrorist organisation Shining Path that they would to be killed if they stayed.

They chose to remain with their flock, however they were shot dead by the terrorists on 9 August 1991, directly after a Mass they had celebrated in the local church in Pariacoto.

The beatification of the two martyrs took place on 5 December 2015 at Mass celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Amato and 500 other priests, with the congregation of 25,000 people gathered at the stadium in Chimbote, Peru.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s celebration, Bishop Monahan said, “I welcome the relics of two modern day Polish missionary martyrs,  Blessed Zbigniew and Blessed Michal.  It is a privilege for the Diocese of Killaloe to have the opportunity to venerate their memory.

“The Church in the world today has many brave and courageous religious and lay people who are placing their lives in danger to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. The presence of the relics will enable us to bring to our hearts and minds the many Christians in our time who are suffering as they witness to their faith.

“I thank the Polish community, and Father Jaroslaw Kurek OSB, for facilitating the bringing of the holy relics to the diocese.”

Glenstal Abbey-based Father Kurek OSB, originally from Poland, has been the lead organiser for the visit of the holy relics to Ireland.

Father Kurek said, “It is the goal of the Polish community to strengthen the Catholic faith by venerating the heroic Franciscans who sacrificed their lives in the Peruvian Andes in 1991.

“We wish to share the good news of their lives and ministry with both the Polish citizens and with our Irish brothers and sisters in faith who, over the last twenty years, have magnanimously accepted us on their land and in their workplaces.”

The special Mass at 5.30 on Friday 5th of July in the Poor Clare Church, Ennis.  Chief celebrant is Bishop Monahan and homily will be delivered by Fr. Kurek.