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Monday, October 29, 2007


VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square in order to pray the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered below. Most of those present were Spaniards who had just attended a ceremony for the beatification of 498 Spanish martyrs of the 20th century, presided in the Pope's name by Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

  The beatification of such a large number of martyrs "shows how the supreme witness of blood is not an exception reserved just for a few individuals, but a realistic possibility for an entire Christian people," said the Holy Father.

  The 498 new Blesseds, killed in Spain in the 1930s, were "men and women of various ages, vocations and social conditions who paid with their lives for their faithfulness to Christ and to His Church."

  "The month of October, which is especially dedicated to the mission, thus closes with the shining witness of the Spanish martyrs whose names are added to those of the martyrs Albertina Berkenbrock, Manuel Gomez Gonzalez and Adilio Daronch, and Franz Jagerstatter, recently proclaimed as Blesseds in Brazil and in Austria. Their example testifies to the fact that Baptism commits Christians to participate courageously in creating the Kingdom of God, cooperating therein, if necessary, with the sacrifice of their own lives.

  "Of course," Benedict XVI added, "not everyone is called to a cruel martyrdom. However, there exists a bloodless 'martyrdom' which is no less important, such as that of Celina Chludzinska, wife and mother, widow and religious, who was beatified yesterday in Rome. This is the silent and heroic witness of so many Christians who live the Gospel without compromise, doing their duty and dedicating themselves generously to the service of the poor.

  "This martyrdom of everyday life is a vital testimony in the secularized societies of our own time, It is the peaceful battle of love that all Christians, like Paul, must tirelessly wage, the race to spread the Gospel which keeps us committed unto death."

  Following the Angelus, the Holy Father addressed a special greeting to some 40,000 Spanish faithful - bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and lay people - who had participated in the morning's beatification ceremony.

  "Let us thank God," the Pope said, "for the great gift of these heroic witnesses of the faith who, moved exclusively by their love for Christ, paid for their faithfulness to Him and to His Church with their blood. With their witness, they illuminate our own spiritual path to sanctity and encourage us to give our lives as a gift of love to God and to our fellows."

  The new Blesseds, "with their words and deeds of pardon towards their persecutors encourage us to work tirelessly for mercy, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.

  "From my heart I invite you to strengthen ecclesial communion day after day, to be faithful witnesses of the Gospel in the world, conscious of the joy of being living members of the Church, the true bride of Christ.

  "Let us ask the new Blesseds," the Holy Father concluded, "through the Virgin Mary, Queen of Martyrs, to intercede for the Church in Spain and in the world. May the fecundity of their martyrdom produce abundant fruits of Christian life in the faithful and in families, may the blood they spilt be a seed for many holy priestly, religious and missionary vocations."
ANG/MARTYRS/...                            VIS 20071029 (590)

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