ST. JOSEF BILCZEWSKI, AN EXAMPLE OF ECUMANICAL SAINTHOOD
Did you ever read the biography of St. John XXIII? It tells how the son of poor Lombard peasants became a priest first, then a bishop and finally the pope. Here, the saint of today tells us a similar story. Born in a Polish peasant family on 1860, he was the Archbishop of Lviv from 1900 until his death, on 1923.
In his position, he encouraged devotion to Sacred Heart of Jesus and Eucharistic Adoration in all parishes, organized courses for the priests wanting to be prepared for social work among the poor and financed several Catholic societies. His support for the students made him a popular figure even to the Eastern Orthodox. In 1904 he organized the first Mariological Congress in Poland.
He also committed himself to a peaceful coexistence between Poles and Ukrainians, and organized relief and food for those displaced and those who became refugees during WW1. Likewise, he aided beggars and the homeless in his archdiocese. Achille Ratti, later Pope Pius XI, was a friend of his.
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