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Catholic Church beatifies Polish family who sheltered Jews during WWII: ‘Paid the highest price of martyrdom’

The Catholic Church beatified a Polish family that sheltered Jews during World War II on Sunday, calling them “a ray of light in the darkness.”

The Latin formula of the Ulma family’s beatification was signed by Pope Francis in August. A Mass took place in Markowa, Poland, where Cardinal Marcello Semeraro said that the family “paid the highest price of martyrdom” because of their “gesture of hospitality and care, of mercy.”

At St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis told the public that the Ulmas “represented a ray of light in the darkness” and should be a model for all Catholics servicing others.

Farmer Jozef Ulma, 44, and his 31-year-old pregnant wife Wiktoria were murdered on March 24, 1944, along with their children: Stanislawa, Maria, Barbara, Wladyslaw, Antoni, Franciszek and Wiktoria’s unborn child. The children’s ages ranged from 7 years to 18 months old.

The Ulmas’ deaths came around four and a half years after the Nazis first invaded Poland, which took place on Sept. 1, 1939. Approximately six million Poles were killed during the war, and roughly half of them were Jewish.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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