Thousands of Poles filled a vast sunbathed square in Warsaw on Sunday for the beatification of Jerzy Popieluszko, a charismatic priest tortured and killed in 1984 by communist Poland's secret police for supporting Lech Walesa's Solidarity freedom movement.
The head of the Vatican's saint-making office, Archbishop Angelo Amato, presided over the Mass at Pilsudski Square that was also celebrated by 120 bishops and 1,600 priests. Popieluszko's 90-year-old mother Marianna, his sister and brothers, were among some 140,000 attending that included Walesa.
Amato read out Pope Benedict XVI's declaration that made Popieluszko blessed for his martyrdom in giving his life to defend good. The crowd applauded when Popieluszko's portrait was unveiled. The pope, on a visit to Cyprus, said Popieluszko's "zealous service and his martyrdom are a special sign of the victory of good over evil."
The two-and-half-hour Mass in Warsaw was followed by a procession of his remains - referred to as relics - encased in a small silver reliquary, to a church in southern Warsaw.