Józef Cebula

23 Mar 1902
9 May 1941
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Blessed Józef Cebula (23 March 1902 – 9 May 1941) was a Polish priest of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI).

Born on 23 March 1902 into a modest family, he suffered tuberculosis as a youth and was declared incurable at first; but after his recovery, he went to an Oblate shrine and shared his story with Father Jan Pawolik, O.M.I. He was taught in a minor seminary from 1923 to 1931, and ordained as a priest on 5 June 1927 while still in a seminary. Father Cebula became a superior on the Oblate seminaries in 1931, and became novice master at Markowice in 1937. 2 years later, when the Germans occupied Poland, they declared loyalty to the Church illegal. On 4 May 1940, the Oblate novices at Markowice were arrested by the Nazis and sent to the concentration camp at Dachau in Upper Bavaria, Germany. However, Father Cebula continued to minister as a priest in secret despite the ban on it, until he was arrested on 2 April 1941. 16 days later, he was taken to a concentration camp at Mauthausen in Austria and was harassed and forced to work hard. 3 weeks later, on 9 May, Father Cebula suddenly summoned up his strength and said, “It is not you who are in charge. God will judge you.” The Nazis ordered him to run with a rock on his back, towards the camp’s barbed wire fence, where a guard shot him to death with a submachine gun and declared that Father Cebula “was shot while trying to escape”. His body was taken to a crematorium and burned to ashes.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 13 June 1999 as one of the 108 Martyrs of World War II.

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