A Holy Week meditation: Blessed Brother Gregory Frąckowiak SVD

By Father Stanley Plutz SVD

Blessed Brother Gregory Frąckowiak SVD
Book Binder
(1911-1943)

The tale of Brother Gregory Frąckowiak SVD marks the third meditation in Father Plutz’s series.

Brother Gregory became a professional book binder and worked in the printing press. His superiors, seeing his attractive personality, scheduled him regularly as receptionist at the mission seminary’s entrance.

He showed himself friendly not only to the benefactors of the seminary but also to the poor and hungry. He made arrangement with the cooks and gave food to many who asked for a bite to eat.

The young seminarians enjoyed his presence for he appreciated his vocation and showed his joy of being a brother of a missionary society. The boys and young men sought his advice.

Martyr Gregory Frąckowiak SVD
Manner of death: Beheading.

When the Nazis turned the seminary—where he lived and worked—into an internment camp for priests, he and the other brothers had to leave.

He went home and helped out in his home parish, serving as sacristan and teaching the children catechism. When the Gestapo arrested the parish priest, he took care of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament by organizing day and night adoration and then giving the people Holy Communion to save the consecrated hosts from desecration.

He then found a job at a printing press near his hometown. There, like the other workers, he secretly passed around anti-Nazi materials.

He stopped distributing this kind of material at the advice of his spiritual director. A year later, the Gestapo found out about this distribution of anti-Nazi literature and arrested a number of people who had been involved. When Brother Gregory learned that his name was on the wanted list, he quietly went to Father Paul Kiczka SVD, his spiritual director, who advised him to hide.

However, Brother Gregory proposed another plan, namely, to take all the blame so that the married men with families could be released. Father Kiczka approved the plan, so Brother Gregory made his confession and received Holy Communion before he left. He was arrested and from then on sent from camp to camp before being beheaded.

In a final letter home, he wrote:

“…I will depart in five hours, but do not cry but pray for my soul and for the souls of all our beloved. I am going to greet the Father and all my relatives … I can tell you that my conscience is clear… I greet you all and will wait for you at our Father’s house. I greet all the brothers in Buczkow and all my friends. God bless you. Be good Catholics. Forgive me everything, please. I am very sorry for my beloved old mother. God be with you. See you in heaven….”

He gave his life for others that they might live.

Reflection
The reader might ask:
Did Brother Gregory ever question why his prayers for an end to the persecution of the Catholic Church were not heard?

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