Addressing the faithful during his homily for the Beatification Mass of the Ulma family in Markowa, Poland, on Sunday, 10 September, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, highlighted ‘welcoming’ as the “thread that united many aspects of the Ulma family’s life and martyrdom”. Indeed, they paid the ultimate price for their gestures of hospitality, care and mercy; they were killed by the ss during World War ii for sheltering a Jewish family.
More than 32,000 people were present at the beatification Mass, the first in which a whole family was beatified together: Józef and Wiktoria Ulma and their seven children: Stanisława, Barbara, Władysław, Franciszek, Antoni, Maria and the unnamed baby Wiktoria was carrying in her womb.
Cardinal Semeraro described the Ulma family home as “an inn where the despised, the outcast, and the death-stricken were welcomed and cared for”. Józef and Wiktoria lived “a holiness that was not only marital but was fully embedded in their entire family”.
In his homily, the Cardinal upheld the Christian witness of the baby Wiktoria was carrying in her womb at the time of her death. “Without ever uttering a word, today the little Blessed cries out to the modern world to welcome, love, and protect life, especially that of the defenceless and the marginalized, from the moment of conception until natural death”.
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”, he stressed. By their example, the Ulma family “encourages us to react to the throwaway culture that Pope Francis denounces”.
After the announcement of the beatification, a painting of the family was unveiled and a reliquary containing their remains was brought to the centre of the stage.
Also present at the beatification was President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, who took the opportunity to thank the Catholic Church on behalf of the nation.
In an interview ahead of the beatification, Mr Raphael Schutz, Israel’s Ambassador to the Holy See, told Vatican News that “the extreme sacrifice of the Ulma family recalls the debt that humanity owes this family and all Righteous Among the Nations who stood up to evil to the extent of losing their lives”.