More than 3,000 members of the whole Vincentian Family attended this great event along with our General Superiors and several members of their Councils.
After a long period of preparation, there were several acts of preparation for the great event that took place the previous day. Solemn Vespers was in the Miraculous Medal Basilica, where both general Superiors greeted the attendees and some relatives of the martyrs presented their testimonies. The magnificent musical, “First Steps,” on the origin of our charism was carried out by alumni and students of the Immaculate-Marillac School and a prayer Vigil about the life of the new Blessed, prepared by the Vincentian Marian Youth was in the Miraculous Medal Basilica.
The beatification took place on the 11th of November in Madrid, presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Delegate of the Holy Father Pope Francis and prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, concelebrated by Cardinal Osoro, Arbishop of Madrid, and five other cardinals, the nuncio of the Holy Father in Spain, bishops, Episcopal vicars and numerous Vincentians and diocesan priests.
During the beatification, Cardinal Angelo Amato said to “celebrate these martyrs is to celebrate the love of God”. He remembered that, “in Spain beatifications of martyrs are frequently carried out. The Church does this with a double purpose: to invite the faithful to remain firm in the faith and to encourage all to avoid the terror of those dark years. For that reason, the martyrs are an opportunity to exalt the force of good that wins over the wrong.”
“In those years neither life nor other people’s ideas were respected,” the Prefect continued. “It seemed that the only objective was to annihilate the Catholic Church. It was blind and ignorant vandalism, a storm that violently razed the nation, covering it with bodies.” In this context, the martyrs were murdered only because of being Catholic. The treasure of these witness’s charity caused the anger of those in favour of the wrong, false prophets that encouraged destruction of the Church and killing, but the martyrs responded with generosity and sacrifice.”
For Cardinal Amato, today their testimony invites us to follow its example of faith and charity in our daily life, and to pray for the executioners, offering also to us the beautiful gift of pardon.” We are not able to, nor should we, forget these martyrs, because they are a testimony of Christian life. And neither should we forget this tragic history so that this wave of fratricidal hate will never be repeated,” concluded Cardinal Amato.
At the end of the ceremony Cardinal Osoro, Archbishop of Madrid, highlighted that “the Church cannot forget her children who united their blood to Christ’s blood.” He underlined also that “Madrid is a Church of martyrs, where there are 440 saints and blessed martyrs of the XXth century whose remains rest in the territory of our Ecclesiastical Province. He requested all of them to intercede, “for the concord, the peace and the progress of all Spain.”
Finally, the General Superior of the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity, Father Tomaž Mavrič, exalted the testimony of his brothers and sisters declaring that “these members of the Vincentian Family followed with fidelity two decisive experiences begun by Saint Vincent de Paul: charity and mission. Their beatification is for all us a stimulus to grow in fidelity to our vocation.”
In the afternoon, there was a Prayer Encounter in the “Cerro de los Ángeles” Sanctuary dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the geographical center of Spain, where King Alfonso XIII consecrated Spain to the Sacred Heart. This Sanctuary was destroyed during the war and reconstructed later. On Sunday, a Thanksgiving Mass at Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena Cathedral, presided by the archbishop of Madrid, put closure to the celebrations.