Thursday, November 1, 2007

New Saints

This week marked the beatification of 498 Spanish martyrs, victims of religious persecution in the 1930s. It “is a testament of their virtue and faith, not a political statement,” said Father Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, secretary-general of the Spanish bishops' conference and director of the conference's office for saints' causes.

Of the newly beatified, 63 were members of the Salesian Society. The Salesian Superior General, Fr. Pascual Chavez, remarked with “profound gratitude to God and fraternal joy, we celebrate the beatification, so long desired, of the martyrs from the former Spanish provinces of Betica and Celtica. Their colleagues from the Tarragona province were beatified six years ago. They remind us that faithfulness to God can require a supreme act of love, to give up one’s life for one’s friend, and assures us that even in this trial God is faithful to those who love him to the end.”

On Monday, October 29, in St. Peter’s Basilica, there was a Mass of Thanksgiving.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, secretary of state, presided at the Mass, along with numerous Spanish bishops, and priests and superiors from the orders and congregations of the new blesseds.

Cardinal Bertone recalled the message given by the martyrs: “Through their own example,” he said, “they left us a will and testament that at times we are afraid to open. But if we are attentive, their lives speak to us of faith, of strength, of generous courage, of burning love, in the face of a culture that is trying to isolate or diminish the moral and human.”

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