+ Józef Puchala was born in Kosina, Poland. After studying in the minor seminary in Lviv, Ukraine, he entered the Conventual Franciscans, receiving the religious name Achilles.
+ Ordained a priest in 1936, he served in friaries in Grodno and Iwiniec, Poland.
+ He was transferred to the parish in Piaršai, (in modern-day Belarus), to help care for the parishioners suffering from a shortage of priests brought on by the Nazi’s roundup of clergy and religious.
+ Father Achilles was arrested and tortured by the Nazis before being shot to death on July 19, 1943, in a barn near the town of Borovikovshchina. Murdered with him was another Conventual Franciscan, Father Herman Stepian, who had also been serving the in the parish at Piaršai.
+ Father Achilles was beatified with Father Herman and 106 other Martyrs of the Second World War in 1999.
“The blessed martyrs cry to our hearts: Believe in God who is love! Believe in him in good times and bad! Awaken hope! May it produce in you the fruit of fidelity to God in every trial!”—Pope Saint John Paul II at the beatification of the 108 Martyrs of the Second World War
Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Achilles to overcome the torments of his passion, grant that we, who celebrate the day of his triumph, may remain invincible under your protection against the snares of the enemy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.Access our archives of daily saint biographies here