We commemorate Bishop Joseph Padewski, who served our Holy Polish National Catholic Church in the United States, including locally in Albany, and in Poland this Thursday, May 10th. On September 1, 1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the west and the Soviet Union invaded from the east. The losses to Poland and to the Church in Poland during the Nazi German and Soviet occupation were devastating. Over 6 million Poles died including 3 million Polish citizens of the Jewish faith. Many priests were sent to concentration camps. In all, 28% of PNCC priests were killed.
The Nazis arrested Bishop Padewski, who shepherded the PNCC in Poland, in 1942. Many of the priests and leaders of our Church already imprisoned or sent to concentration camps. After 18 months, through the intervention of the Red Cross, he was freed and returned to the United States. After the war he returned to Poland resuming his duties as Bishop of the Polish branch of the PNCC. Shortly after his return, the Soviet Union completed its takeover of Poland and asserted Communist control. In this atmosphere of Stalinist terror, Bishop Padewski was arrested by the Communist Secret Police (UB) in Warsaw and was held at their prison on Rakowieckiej Street. Bishop Padewski died on May 10, 1951 as a result of Secret Police questioning and maltreatment.
Bishop Joseph, pastor and shepherd of our Holy Church, and martyr for the faith, pray for us.