Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, Archbishop emeritus of Kraków (Poland), was born on 20 May 1927 in the city of Krakow. During the war, under German occupation, he was a labourer. Following the liberation in 1945, he entered the metropolitan major seminary of Kraków. At the same time he studied theology at the Jagiellonian University. After finishing his studies in theology and philosophy, he was ordained a priest on 2 April 1950 by the then Archbishop of Kraków, Cardinal Sapieha.
For six years, the young priest served as vicar in the parish of Kozy, near Bielsko-Biała. In 1956 he transferred to Switzerland, Fribourg, to continue his theological studies at the local Catholic University where in 1960 he received a doctorate in pastoral theology. Returning to Krakow, he was named spiritual director of the metropolitan seminary and dedicated himself to teaching pastoral theology at the Pontifical Faculty of Theology at Kraków. Ten years later, in 1970, he was nominated rector of the same seminary, which is one of the most frequented and important major seminaries in Poland. In 1977 he was nominated canon of the metropolitan chapter of the cathedral of Wawel by the then Archbishop of Kraków, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła. Cardinal Macharski has also been at the Pope’s side during such trips abroad to Canada, USA, France, Germany and Italy.
John Paul II nominated him as his successor to the Metropolitan See of Kraków on 29 December 1978. He personally conferred episcopal ordination on 6 January 1979 in St. Peter’s Basilica in the presence of many Cardinals, Bishops and a multitude of pilgrims, many of whom came from Kraków for the occasion.
Cardinal Macharski is noted as a man of culture, scholar and writer. He has dedicated particular care to promoting priestly and religious vocations and to the theological-spiritual formation of future priests. Within the Polish episcopate, even prior to his nomination as archbishop, he contributed his thought and experience by participating in the various commissions. During the plenary assembly of the Polish bishops held in Warsaw 6-8 February 1979, he was made president of the commission of lay ministry; the same commission of which the Holy Father, the then Archbishop of Kraków was president from 1966 to 1978, while Macharski was secretary.
President Delegate of the Second Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops (1-23 October 1999).
Archbishop emeritus of Kraków, 3 June 2005.
He participated in the conclave of April 2005, which elected Pope Benedict XVI.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by St. John Paul II in the consistory of 30 June 1979, of the Title of S. Giovanni a Porta Latina (St. John at the Latin Gate).
Cardinal Macharski died in Kraków, on August 2nd, 2016.