Pope: Blessed Ulma family a model of Christian care for others
By Devin Watkins
The nine members of the Ulma family were beatified on Sunday in their Polish hometown of Markowa, where they were martyred by Nazi soldiers for harbouring Jews during World War II.
Pope Francis upheld the family's actions as model of Christian life for everyone to follow, as he spoke at the Angelus prayer on Sunday.
He called the Ulmas “a model to imitate in our efforts to do good and serve those who are in need.”
“In response to the hatred and violence that characterized those times, they embraced evangelical love,” he said.
The Pope added that the Polish family “represented a ray of light in the darkness of the Second World War” and invited everyone to offer a round of applause for the new Blesseds.
Pope Francis went on to urge Christians to follow their example by “opposing strength of arms with charity, and violent rhetoric with tenacious prayer.”
“May we [pray] especially for the many countries that suffer due to war,” he said. “In a special way, let us intensify our prayers for martyred Ukraine… which is suffering greatly.”
Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, presided over the beatification Mass in Markowa, which was concelebrated by 7 Cardinals and 1,000 priests, with over 32,000 faithful registered to attend.
The beatified family members are Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma, and their children Stanisława, Barbara, Władysław, Franciszek, Antoni, Maria, and an unnamed child who was born at the moment of Wiktoria's martyrdom.
In his homily at the Mass, Cardinal Semeraro said the Ulma’s family home became “an inn where the despised, outcast, and death-stricken was welcomed and cared for.”
He said Jozef and Wiktoria lived “a holiness that was not only marital but was fully embedded in their entire family.”
Cardinal Semeraro also upheld the Christian witness of the newly-beatified unnamed child.
“Without ever having uttered a word,” he said, “today the little Blessed cries out to the modern world to welcome, love, and protect life, especially that of the defenseless and marginalized, from the moment of conception until natural death.”
He said the child’s “innocent voice seeks to shake the consciences of a society where abortion, euthanasia, and contempt for life seen as a burden and not a gift are rampant.”
“The Ulma family,” said the Cardinal, “encourages us to react to that throwaway culture, which Pope Francis denounces.”