Blessed Alphonso was one of 108 Polish martyrs that gave powerful witness to their allegiance to Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith during the dark days of Nazi aggression and evil. But throughout his life, Alphonso witnessed to Christ.
He was born of March 1, 1891 in Baranowka, Lubeiskie in Poland. His parents, Wojciech and Marianna named him Josef. From an early age, Alphonso desired to enter religious life and the priesthood. After graduating from the Discalced Carmelite Seminary in Wadowice, he entered the novitiate located in Czerna and took the name Alphonso Maria of the Holy Spirit in 1912. His studies in philosophy and theology brought him to Krakow, Linz and Vienna. Alphonso was ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. Stephen on July 16, 1916.
His talents in administration and education were quickly recognized bringing him to positions of professor and rector at the Discalced Carmelite seminary in Wadowice. In addition to teaching, he also worked among members of the local Third Order community. By 1936 Alphonso’s became prior of the O.C.D. community in Czerna. Under his direction there was a renewal of community evangelization to the local area. He continued his work with the Third Order becoming first visitator for all of in Poland. He wrote their statues and prepared for printing a breviary for their use. In 1937. Alphonso’s musical talents were also apparent in Czerna when he began directed the choir, which flourished under his guidance and composed elaborate Church music.
In spite of Germany’s invasion and occupation of Poland, Mazurek continued to lead his community and serve the local church with a deep and abiding faith in Christ. That changed on August 24, 1944 when the Discalced monastery was taken over by the Nazis. The friars were forced to dig ditches. Alphonso was separated from the rest of the community and tortured. Later he was taken on a dirt path by a military. He was forced out and made to walk a fair distance. Then, after hearing his name called by the S.S. and turning towards them, Alphonso was shot. His guards began to kick him and force dirt into his mouth. Members of his community found him before his death and gave him absolution.
On June 13, 1999, Alphonso was beautified by Pope John Paul II in Warsaw, Poland. During his homily, John Paul said, “… I had an occasion of meeting personally with this witness of Christ, who in 1944 as the prior of the Czerna monastery sealed his faithfulness to God with death through martyrdom. I kneel in veneration before his relics that rest in the church of St. Joseph and I thank God for the gift of the life, the martyrdom and sanctity of this great religious.”
May the prayers of your martyrs Blessed Alphonso Mary and Companions, prevail with you, Lord, on our behalf. Let then strengthen us in our witness to your truth. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen