Blessed Michal Sopocko, February 15


Blessed Michal Sopocko

Jurowsczyzna, Lithuania, November 1 , 1888 – Białystok, Poland, February 15, 1975

Blessed Don Michal Sopocko, confessor and spiritual director of Sister Faustina, and was directly linked with the mystery of the apparitions of Merciful Jesus. God gave him an extremely important roleto carry out the mission that the Lord Jesus entrusted to Sister Faustina. At this devoted almost his entire life. The solemn beatification of the Servant of God Don Michal Sopocko which took place on 28 September 2008, at the Shrine of Divine Mercy at Bialystok, pushing to make him known to the faithful, especially to those who have a particular devotion to Divine Mercy.

In the history of humanity and faith has been a long road that led to God in our day as the Father of Mercy. Long was also the way of the public worship of the Church that reveres God in this mystery. The New Testament is the full revelation of God, the Father of love and mercy, in the person of Jesus Christ. Why did Jesus not only spoke to us about this mystery in God, but made it close in himself through his works, particularly with regard to the unhappy, wandering and sinful, and especially through the supreme expression of love which was merciful the redeeming sacrifice of the cross. Through Sister Faustina Kowalska merciful God has called mankind to worship Him in this mystery in the Church Sister Faustina is now recognized as a saint. Less known is another person, so closely linked with the mystery of Jesus’ revelations to Sister Faustina Merciful. This is Don Michael Sopocko, a priest of the Archdiocese of Vilna (Vilnius, Lithuania), confessor, spiritual director and supporter of Sister Faustina in his revelations, now venerable.

The process of beatification of Fr Sopocko began in Bialystok in 1997, presents him as a shining example of priestly life and as an ardent servant of the works of God, particularly the work of Divine Mercy. The process of beatification is also an incentive to bring this figure to a more faithful, especially the devotees of the Divine Mercy.

Michal Sopocko was born November 1, 1888 in Juszewszczyzna. His childhood spent in an atmosphere conducive to proper growth and spiritual worship. The atmosphere that reigned around him in childhood, as he himself says, awoke in him a desire to devote himself to the service of God as a priest.

Michal came in the autumn of 1910 in the Seminar of Vilna and his studies lasted four years. Life spent in the seminary in an order set and practices exist for many years. Michal had no difficulty in meeting these conditions and requirements. He could not rely on family members and continued his studies thanks to a subsidy granted by the rector Don J. Uszyllo. On April 29, 1912 he received the four minor orders and passed his examinations regularly. In this period against it was used a treatment. The leaders of the seminary decided to Michal ammetere orders of diaconate and subdiaconate one year ahead of schedule. A week before the feast of Pentecost he was ordained subdeacon in Kaunas. He was ordained a deacon a few weeks later. He received orders from the hands of the bishop of Kielce Augustyn Losiñski. At the end of his fourth year of study, on June 15, 1914 he was ordained priest by Bishop Franciszek Karewicz.

After ordination Fr Michael Sopocko was sent in the parish of Taboryszki in the deanery of Turgiele as vicar. The scope of tasks assigned to him by the parish priest was not binding. Churches, therefore could start to catecheses youth. His first year of pastoral work to Taboryszki ended with the celebration of the First Confession and Communion for a group of about 500 children. In the summer of 1915 the German-Russian front crossed Taboryszki. Don Sopocko, despite the dangers involving the war continued to carry out the pastoral work, going from one parish to another consoling the people to whom the passage of troops of the army had caused damage.

At Miedniki Królewski, a village 14 kilometers away from the parish church, was stationed a German department. Every now and then a military chaplain was to find the soldiers to celebrate the Holy Mass in the chapel. Sometimes he called on Don Sopocko to replace him and he accepted very willingly. During his stay in Taboryszki Don Sopocko also played an important activity in education. Over time this became a reason for persecution by the occupying authorities. Don Michal decided to organize a school in each country of a certain consistency.

The occupying authorities were very tolerant to the action against this activity, and even materially supported it. However, with the passing of time, their attitude changed for the worse. Don Sopocko was hindered. He could not go to Vilna to take gl’insegnanti. In the end, Germany came to the conclusion that Don was a fanatic Sopocko Polandia which spread his ideas in the region of Vilna using money from abroad. In this situation don Michal began to think seriously about starting Taboryszki.

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He studied at the Theological Faculty of the University of Warsaw and the ministry of military chaplains. In September 1918 the then vicar capitulate J. Hanusowicz to Don Michal gave permission to leave for Warsaw. On the evening of September 30, Don Sopocko departed secretly from Taboryszki, but the parishioners found a Turgiele where he stopped. They did not want him to leave as their priest. After their leave Don Michal went to Vilna and then to Warsaw. He arrived in Warsaw is enrolled in the Faculty of Theology at the local level. The disease and the political changes that took place at this time hindered him in his studies. Don Michal was ill with abdominal typhus and was hospitalized for six weeks.

In January 1919 he started started his studies again, but the university was closed because of war in Eastern, which erupted soon after the proclamation of independence. He appeared as a volunteer at the Curia of military and asked to be allowed to serve in the army. The Military Ordinary of the Polish Stanislaw Gall military chaplain named him and sent him to perform his ministry nell’Ospedale Military No 3 Warsaw. However, after one month, Father Michael asked to be sent to the front. Towards the end of February by the bishop obtained the transfer to Vilna Regiment of the Division Artillery of Belarus and went immediately to the front. He was sent to carry out his pastoral ministry at the troops who were based in Rózanna. Had to celebrate the Holy Mass, the prayer guide and confess. Confessed numerous soldiers.

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Don Michal took care of the wounded who had to suffer because of the very difficult conditions due to the lack of a hospital. A long march with the troops of the army caused the health problems. It was the beginning of typhoid fever. He was transferred to a military hospital organized at the convent of the Sisters Immacolatine in Slonim and from there, because the approach of the front, he was transferred to the hospital Wolkowysk. The hospitalization lasted only a few weeks in spring and the health of the patient began to improve. Don Sopocko, even in the period of convalescence, was helping in the pastoral care of the sick. The ministry in hospitals was not easy in war. It showed clearly the weakening of his health. Bishop Stanislaw Gall military granted to Don Michal a license for health reasons.

A commission of doctors sent him to the Red Cross Sanatorium in Zakopane. Before leaving Sopocko Don was honored by the officers of the staff with a special thanks for his merits and his great dedication. Finite care beginning in September of 1919 the Bishop Stanislaw Gall wanted him in Warsaw and sent him to the Field of Training of Engineers Koœciuszko of Powazki in the district of Warsaw. Among his duties, as military chaplain, was the religious and moral training of senior and soldiers through weekly meetings, the management of the military in Dzik, the service at the Office of Economic and Prime Miners Regiment of Engineers at Marymont and care Powazki military cemetery.

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had so large catechism and talked about current issues associated with military service. The religious and moral themes mentioned during the course were highly appreciated by the staff. The Ministry of War issued its courses to press officers in committing them to recruit in all areas. To carry out his pastoral ministry there was need for suitable premises. So Don Sopocko began to organize the formation of the chapels and churches that were abandoned or had worked as Orthodox churches during the stay of the Russians in Warsaw. He did make the altar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the chapel of the barracks and the chapel of Marymont which was subsequently completely restored the altar of Regina Poloniae and two side altars, that of St. Casimir and the Sacred Heart of Jesus . In the church of St. Josaphat in the post cemetery Powazki restructure altars made from the orthodox left. Sundays and public holidays celebrated in these temples Masses and religious services presided. Besides the military, were also residents of the area.

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In October, despite the fact that the war was still underway, the university was reopened. Don Sopocko enrolled in the Section of Moral Theology and the courses of Law and Philosophy. From that moment he had to split his time between studies and ministry in the army. He was also dedicated to social inclusion. He organized and vigil on the functioning of Fraternal Military Aid (was the president of this organization), military and school meals for orphaned children from families of soldiers. In the summer of 1920 Don Sopocko was a witness of what has happened in the first line, and soon after, already in Warsaw, lived the heroic defense of the city and the victory against the Soviet offensive. After years in his commentary Memories of these events as an extraordinary provision of Divine Providence and as a sign of Divine Mercy in Poland, thanks to the prayers of the faithful who in August of that flowed into the crowd in the churches.

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In the summer of 1920 Don Sopocko was attacked while returning from the hospital only in Dzik. The intervention of the soldiers who were around probably saved him from worse. One of the attackers was arrestedl he was a leader of the Communists and known to the police. That kind organize meetings in the cemetery. After this episode Don Michal was assigned a coach and a small waiting to assure safety during his travel between the hospital and divisions assigned to his pastoral care. It was the Marshal Józef Pilsudski in person to give this order. He had a habit of coming to find the soldiers, a few times a year. The Marshal saw the chaplain and always greeted him first. Then, just knew how to quest’aggressione ordered the special measures to assure safety.

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While performing the duties of military chaplain and studying moral theology, Fr Sopocko enrolled again in the autumn of 1922, at the Higher Institute of Pedagogy. In 1923 he obtained his doctorate in theology and was devoted to broader pedagogy. In the spring of 1924 he did research among primary school pupils and middle school. The purpose of this research was to verify the influence of alcohol on developing the skills of youth. The results of this research were later the basis for the thesis entitled: “Alcoholism among young school age, which crowned his studies at the Institute of Pedagogy.

In 1924 Don Sopocko contributed to the restructuring of the chapel of Marymont where he held the church services for the army and the inhabitants of the area. In one summer the building capable of containing several hundred people, was transformed into a church with a nave and three altars and a pediment in baroque style. On November 16 the church was solemnly consecrated and dedicated to the Queen of the Crown of Poland. Bishop Stanislaw Gall military appreciated the commitment and work of the chaplain, forwarding a special thanks. Even the press in Warsaw saw its merits publishing news on his person and  work place.

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The Bishop of Vilna, Jerzy Matulewicz, knowing his merits and his work, and knowing the theological and pedagogical chaplain wanted to take advantage of his capabilities through a commitment to work for the diocese. Initially he wanted to entrust to him the organization of the pastoral care of non-school youth in the diocese. Don Michal accepted the proposal of the bishop and he decided to return to his diocese. He made application to the Curia for Military resigned from the function of chaplain, but received no response. Monsignor Matulewicz addressed personally to the bishop and the military in the summer of 1924 obtained the promise that Don Sopocko would be transferred as a military chaplain in the Diocese of Vilna. In this way he could also actively participate in the diocesan pastoral. Went to Poznan to know the principles of organization and methods of working with young people not in school. Under the direction of the priests involved in working with youth and leaders of the Catholic Youth was introduced in the principles of this new activity that you suggested before. On this occasion he also saw the work of priests who spread the abstinence from alcohol.

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The formal decision of the Bishop Stanislaw Gall on the transfer of Don Sopocko for work in the region of Vilna arrived in the autumn of 1924. With this decision, he was appointed Director of Pastoral Region who embraced the military garrison of Vilna and the garrisons of Nowa Wilejka, Podbrodzie and Berezwecze. The transfer of Don Sopocko in Vilna was the shift to a higher grade, but at the same time the duties and responsibilities required greater dedication.

Don Michal Sopocko arrived in Vilna (Vilnius) on December 8, 1924. By engaging in military pastoral care, Don Sopocko decided, together with the conference of military chaplains, that apart from the sacramental ministry, at least once every fifteen days in each department should take a course on religious and moral issues. The Pastoral Region Vilna comprised of 12 units with more than 10,000 soldiers. Due to the lack of a church in garrison, the soldiers went to religious services in parish churches. It was urgent to get a church for the needs of the army. Don Sopocko asked to convene an assembly of military, church, state and city, during which presented the difficulties of pastoral care at military and submitted the project to build a church of the garrison. It was decided that for this purpose would have been rebuilt in the former church of St. Ignatius, changed by the czarist military in a casino, and then in ruins. The chaplain began to preach on the Passion of Christ, calling both bids on the construction. The beginning of the work was quite promising, but the initial optimism of the construction of the church, then changed into a long and difficult effort. At the same time, together with the work of reconstruction, Don Sopocko organized in one of the annexes of the church a chapel dedicated to Christ the King, which celebrated the religious services for families of officers. Were also the faithful of the whole city. In addition, he adapted to the religious chapel of Mater Dolorosa cemetery located in the military.

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After Don Sopocko was inserted in the pastoral care in the new military reality of Vilna, he undertook to carry out the task assigned by the bishop. Organizing the youth for those not attending schools. Invited teachers to collaborate. With their help he managed to form some groups of Polish Youth, the second model of the associations of Poznan had known that before going to Vilna. In short it was registered officially the Union of Polish Youth Associations.

All this was achieved just six months after the arrival of Don Sopocko in Vilna. His full commitment to the great dedication and effort put in the work undertaken by the army and energy with young people is ripercossero about his health. In the spring of 1925, doctors ordered him to leave for a cure to Zakopane. The cure lasted for three months. The works that were started in a state of stagnation. Return if Don Sopocko found himself facing a difficult task to remedy this situation. He continued to raise money by preaching in parishes and with the help of the ladies belonging to the Circle of Helping Soldiers and the Conference of St. Vincent de Paul, organized collections, raffles. Unfortunately, all this was wearing a very small gain in comparison to put into developing these initiatives. He sought support in the then Ministry of Military Affairs, tried to buy cheap materials and organized with the support of leaders of the army, work brigades made up of soldiers in this way by lowering labor costs.

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Also twice took advantage of Marshal Pilsudski in Vilna. He personally asked him to support the construction of the church, and twice received a few thousand PLN. Other employment of Don Sopocko after arrival from Warsaw to Vilna was the scientific and educational work. Ghe continued his theological studies by correspondence preparing doctoral thesis in moral theology, entitled “The ethics of the Polish family Polish.” The past two years, despite the time pressure caused by all of his duties on March 1, 1926 presented to the Faccoltà of Theology at the University of Warsaw.

Scientific research involved the knowledge of foreign languages, so he deepened his knowledge of German and also studied privately English and French. After the award of PhD intended to prepare a thesis, this time the approval for the free lecture. In 1927 and 1928 Don Sopocko, while continuing as a manager of pastoral care in the Military District of Vilna, was given responsibility for other work: he became the spiritual father in the diocesan seminary and director of the chair of pastoral theology at the University of Vilna. These new responsibilities forced him to abandon the pastoral in the army. However, the bishop took us to the military chaplain’s so busy that they were perfectly his ministry. For this reason, with a late decision to resign. In most was still ongoing restructuring of the church of St. Ignatius and was primarily a task managed by Don Sopocko. Don Sopocko was forced, for some years yet, to reconcile all those who played important roles simultaneously.

Archbishop Romuald Jalbrzykowski ordinary became bishop in the archdiocese in 1925. By decree of August 8, 1927 he appointed Fr Michal Sopocko spiritual father of the seminary of Vilna. To be able to play an important role in the formation of future priests, continued to be military chaplain, he was forced to renounce to take courses for teachers and require a third helper for the pastoral care of Vilna in the garrison. Starting in autumn of 1927, Don Sopocko had to balance work with the seminary work in the army. The work in the seminary and the ministry of the same spiritual father who was not fundamentally prepared, and that surprised even him, with the passage of time began to please Him. As a spiritual father, also was moderator of the seminar: Congregation Marian, Eucharistic Circle, Third Circle, and the Franciscan seminarians of the Missionary Union of the Clergy.

From the beginning of his pastoral work, Father Sopocko was very sensitive to the problem of alcoholism and dell’ubriachezza. Another ministry similar to that of spiritual father played in the same period during his stay in Vilna was the confessor of nuns.

In September 1929 the church of St. Ignatius was consecrated and in use on the garrison of the Military District of Vilna. Don Sopocko was free from the direct reconstruction of the church that employed him for many years. At the same time, the bishop resigned from the military role of military chaplain at the church and granted an unpaid leave of three years. From the time that Don Sopocko was taken to the University and released by the ministry of military chaplain, his principal occupation, in addition to the task of spiritual father in the workshop, were the courses and scientific work. Because at that time he lacked the appropriate manuals, he developed the manuals in matters taught. Subsequently, these texts were copied by students and for many years were a valuable aid in his studies. The research of Don Sopocko was related mainly to the approval and preparation related to the theme of spiritual. To collect the necessary materials Don Sopocko went in the summer of 1930 in the libraries of the West European countries.

The trip was fruitful both from a scientific and spiritual standpoint. Seizing the opportunity, he visited some places of worship and centers of religious life. Apart from the work done to prepare for certification, Don Sopocko wrote scientific articles and dissemination of pastoral theology, articles on ecclesiastical history, held conferences and was involved in journalism. Beyond the fundamental tasks which were assigned functions by the above, Don Sopocko also devoted himself to social work in <!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>

various religious organizations. He was in contact with the Marian congregations for men and for women, held conferences and courses for these groups and took advantage of their help in working with young people who were not attending schools. Vilna when he organized a branch of the Circle of Catholic Intellectuals already exists at The Catholic University of Lublin, took part in the work of this club, particularly as regards the inner life.

Increasingly engaging in scientific work, he approached the Bishop again to resign from the military occupation of chaplain. The new bishop Józef Gawlina military accepted the application and Don Sopocko passed to the reserve. The difficulties and problems resulting from the need to reconcile the scientific and practical teaching at the university with other occupations and the desire to engage in a more comprehensive science contributed to the fact that Don Michal turned to Archbishop Jalbrzykowski with the request to be freed from the role of spiritual father. The Archbishop agreed, although not immediately, to free him from this ministry. Free of the commitments of the seminar, in September 1932, Don Sopocko moved to the convent of the Sisters of the Visitation, where conditions favored the development of the finished thesis. The title was: “Purpose, subject and object of Mikolaj Leczycki second.” Based on this work on May 15, 1934 he obtained the right to free lecture by Professor A. Borowski to the Chair of Pastoral Theology at the University of Warsaw. The Ministry of religious and public education appointed him professor of the University of Warsaw, and this title was subsequently cahnged to the Chair of Pastoral Theology at the University Stefan Bathory in Vilna.

In March of 1934 Don Sopocko went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Visiting the Holy Land was for him a great experience and gave testimony in his memories and in the reports contained in other publications. In July of 1934 the archbishop Jalbrzykowski appointed Don Sopocko rector of the church of San Michael in Vilna. At this church was situated the convent of the Sisters Bernardino. He was their confessor. As rector of the church Don Sopocko furnished a small apartment near the church and was committed to renew the church and to renew and preserve the miraculous image of Our Lady of the century. XV, crowned in 1750 by Pope Benedict XIV. Redesigned to fit the convent to the needs of contemplative religious congregations. These requirements were not observed because, before the return of the sisters in 1919, the premises had been used for profane uses. Covered an important part of the costs by spending their savings. Don Sopocko was rector of the church of St. Michael until 1938.
The period of the pastoral ministry of Don Sopocko at the church of San Michael connects with the meeting, Sister Faustina Kowalska of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy. This meeting was crucial to her whole life and his future mission. Since 1932 he was confessor of the Sisters of this congregation. Sister Faustina, who arrived in Vilna in 1933, became his penitent. In Sister Faustina, he met a person who venerated the Divine Mercy. He himself experienced in his life many thanks and honor God in His mercy.

In Don Sopocko,Sister Faustina found for herself the pious confessor and conscious that had been previously revealed in her inner experiences. She began to submit to him her ever-widening visions and experiences. Don Sopocko ordered her to describe her inner experiences. Later they read the text assesses the message. In this way arose the spiritual diary of Sister Faustina. Sister Faustina, speaking of the Savior’s revelations experienced even before she arrived in Vilna, then in the same city, the number of requests submitted, including to paint a picture of the Savior and Mercy are that the creation of the feast of Divine Mercy on the first Sunday after Easter.

Don Sopocko asked Eugeniusz Kazimirowski, an artist, to paint the picture. For some months, in 1934, Sister Faustina and her confessor went to the artist, who painted the picture in accordance with her instructions and comments. Although the appearance of the Savior was not represented in, in the opinion of Sister Faustina, as beautifully as in the visions, Christ would have said that this image was enough to convey the grace of mercy.

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What’s more, Sister Faustina received his visions in order to found a religious congregation, which spread the idea of Divine Mercy and prayers to the Divine Mercy, among other things, the novena and the crown. Don Sopocko before publicly displaying the image that was painted and first to speak of Divine Mercy, devoted himself to research and critical evaluation, according to the teaching of the Church of the inner experiences and content of the visions of Sister Faustina. The image was temporarily placed in the corridor of the convent of the Sisters Bernardino and nobody knew the origin. Sister Faustina said then that the Savior was not happy and asked to place the image on the Ostra Brama, at least during the triduum that preceded Sunday in albis, the triduum which was to be held at the close of the Jubilee of the Redemption celebrated in 1935. Don Sopocko satisfied this request. With the permission of the parish priest, he placed the image in a window of the colonnade of the chapel and Sunday indicated un’omelia held on Divine Mercy.

In March of 1936 Sister Faustina left Vilna and after a brief stay in Walendów near Warsaw, was transferred in the same year in Lagiewniki near Krakow. Don Sopocko, kept contact with her through letters and came to find her in Krakow. He continued the work of bringing the world the mystery of Divine Mercy, entrusted to him. In 1937 the Archbishop Jalbrzykowski asked permission to hang the picture of Merciful Jesus in the church of San Michael. On April 4, 1937, ie the first Sunday after Easter, then, the day after it was previstala feast, he blessed the image and placed beside the main altar, but without identifying the source.

According to the Church’s Don Sopocko continued the search for theological reasons of mercy as a characteristic of God and also sought to establish the foundations for the feast that Jesus called the revelations. He presented the results of his research and the arguments that justify the introduction of the festival in some articles published in magazines and theological elaborated on in the idea of Divine Mercy.

Towards the end of 1937 the health of Sister Faustina worsened appreciably. Don Sopocko went to find her at the beginning of September of 1938. Sister Faustina was already on his deathbed. During these meetings the Sister Faustina passed on the invitation not cease to spread the cult of Divine Mercy and to try to establish the party. As for the new congregation told him, that would be initiated by a few small things and initiative was undertaken by others. She finally accepted the thought of not having found the congregation, as it was coming with the picture. This was suggested by the Lord. Sister Faustina came back to the Lord October 5, 1938.

Source: Santi e Beati


3 Responses to Blessed Michal Sopocko, February 15

  1. […] Blessed Father Michal Sopocko, Saint Faustina’s confessor and spiritual director. […]

  2. edwin copingco says:

    The parishioners of St. John the Baptist, Jimenez, Misamis Occidental, Philippines. Had started today February 6, 2011. First day novena of Blessed Fr. Michael Sopocko on preparation of his death anniversary (feast day) Feb 15.

  3. Charles says:

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