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Beatification of Martyrs

   On Sunday, October 13, the ceremony for the beatification of 522 Spanish martyrs of the twentieth century took place in Tarragona, Spain. As all of you know, among them are five of our brothers from the Congregation: Teófilo, Gonzalo, Isidro, Eladio, and Mario, whom we now can invoke as “Blessed.” Their memorial date in the liturgical calendar has been established as November 6.

   These brothers formed part of a “cloud of witnesses,” together with other brothers and sisters, religious and laypeople who, in the same time period, ran the same risks and shared the same destiny for the sake of their faith. With this celebration we give thanks to God, who sustains fragile human beings in such a way that their love matters more to them than their life.

   The testimony of faith of these martyrs, occurring while living in conditions of violence and persecution of the Church (circumstances similar to those of the times in which the Congregation was founded) may inspire our own testimony in the particular circumstances and times in which we are living. Also, their testimony invites us to pray for all those Christians who today continue to suffer persecution because of their proclamation of the Gospel or merely for the action of declaring themselves followers of Jesus. In the end, our memory of the martyrs makes us think about the innumerable victims of violence in this world and moves us to act and pray for peace and reconciliation.

   Around eighty male and female religious of the Sacred Hearts, from fifteen countries, have participated in the celebration in Tarragona, among a gathering of around twenty thousand persons. The Iberian Province has taken charge of the welcome of the brothers and sisters of the Congregation. We trust that, in all locations, the Congregation will find ways of celebrating and expressing this joy of our faith that recognizes in death the promise of a fruit of life that arises from the seed that, like Jesus, has fallen to the earth and has died for love. 

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