Tag Archives: martyr

Saint Lawrence

Martrdom of St Lawrence Fra Angelico.jpgAs blessed Lawrence lay on the gridiron, to which the
torturers held him fast with forks over the burning coals of fire, he cried out
to the wicked magistrate: “The roasting is done! turn now the carcass and
devour, for the rest of the substance of the church, which you desired, has
been garnered up into heaven by the hands of the poor!
(an antiphon)

In today’s Office of Readings of the Roman Divine Office the Church gives to us for meditation a piece written on the martyr Saint Lawrence by the great Saint Augustine of Hippo:

The Roman Church commends to us
today the anniversary of the triumph of Saint Lawrence. For on this day he
trod the furious pagan world underfoot and flung aside its allurements, and so
gained victory over Satan’s attack on his faith. As you have often heard, Lawrence
was a deacon of the Church at Rome. There he ministered the sacred blood of
Christ; there for the sake of Christ’s Name he poured out his own blood
. St.
John the Apostle was evidently teaching us about the mystery of the Lord’s
Supper when he wrote, “Just as Christ laid down His life for us, so we
ought to lay down our lives for the brethren
.” Lawrence understood this,
and, understanding, he acted on it. Just as he had partaken of a gift of self
at the table of the Lord, so he prepared to offer such a gift. In his life,
Lawrence loved Christ; in his death, he followed n Christ’s footsteps.

Saint Agrippina, martyr

The Church liturgically commemorates the feast of Saint Agrippina, a Roman martyr who lived at the time of Emperor Valerian (153-259). Not called to be married to a believer or unbeliever but called to fully dedicate her life to Christ, Agrippina confessed in public her faith in Christ as Savior for which she was tortured. After being beatened, tradition says, she was chained by the government yet released by an angel. She died from her torture. Initially, Saint Agrippina was buried in Sicily by three Christian women: Bassa, Paula and Agathonice; her relics were later transfered to Constantinople.
Saint Agrippina is often invoked by those who are suffering bacterial infections, evil spirits, leprosy and thunderstorms.
A liturgical hymn recalls Saint Agrippina:

With Your blood, O Christ, far beyond all price,

You redeemed us from our sin.
Bringing us new life, guarding us in strife,
Making us Your blood-brought kin.

St Agrippina.jpg

Praise to You, O Christ our Lord,
Both in heav’n and earth adored!
Let Your martyr’s praise
Echo through our days;
Hymning You with one accord!
Let us form a choir, take the heav’nly lyre,
To adorn Your martyr’s feast.
Faithful unto death, with her final breath
She proclaimed You King and Priest!
Praise to You, O Christ our Lord,
Both in heav’n and earth adored!
Let Your martyr’s praise
Echo through our days;
Hymning You with one accord!
In Your martyr, brave Agrippina,
You show forth Your boundless grace.
Grant that we, inspired, may like her be fired
With the zeal to see Your face!
Praise to You, O Christ our Lord,
Both in heav’n and earth adored!
Let Your martyr’s praise
Echo through our days;
Hymning You with one accord!

Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko, martyr

Jerzy Popiełuszko.jpg

The Church has a new blessed, an apostle for freedom, Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko.

From Cyprus on Sunday, June 6, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI
during the Angelus address spoke a “few words in Polish on the happy occasion
of the beatification today of Jerzy Popieluszko, priest and martyr: [I send
cordial greetings to the Church in Poland which today rejoices at the elevation
to the altars of Father Jerzy Popieluszko. His zealous service and his
martyrdom are a special sign of the victory of good over evil. May his example
and his intercession nourish the zeal of priests and enkindle the faithful with

In 1984 I distinctively remember the tangible feelings upon hearing of the murder of the young priest, Father Jerzy Popieluszko, by the Communists. I think we all cried because he died for us. In fact, no person of Polish heritage could not not know about Popieluszko and identify with the struggle for human dignity and freedom he sought his people. He was seen as a the modern Saint Stanislaus, martyr. The tragic circumstances of his death were ever in front of us as yet another example of the evils of Communism.

Marianna Popiełuszko.jpg

Father Jerzy was a popular chaplain to members of the Solidarity movement. Yesterday, Archbishop Angelo Amato, SDB, Prefect of the Congregation of Saints, beatified Father Jerzy in the presence of his mother Marianna, 100, and other family members and nearly 140,000 people. Marianna is yet another living member of a saint or “saint-to-be.” How moving it is two see Father Jerzy’s mother present for her son’s beatification and the tremendous outpouring of love for him and for her.

Known as a martyr of freedom, Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko’s tomb has had nearly 17 million visitors. Other details pertaining to Popieluszko’s beatification are in Jonathon Luxmoore’s Catholic News Service article, the Zenit article and another story about Blessed Jerzy that can be read here.

Some quick facts:

Born: September 14, 1947
Ordained priest: May 28, 1972
Kidnapped & killed: October 19/20, 1984
Venerated: December 19, 2009
Beatified: June 6, 2010
Liturgical memorial: October 19

Watch the note on a forthcoming movie on Blessed Jerzy

Film explores the witness of Trappist martyrs of Algeria

Atlas Trappists.jpgThe
recent Cannes Film Festival showed the film about the 1996 Trappist martyrs of Our Lady of
Atlas in Algeria. The film got rave reviews and awarded 2nd place. The film is in French and it will be
available on DVD with English subtitles. While we wait for the full film to be available here is
a clip on Youtube with subtitles at: Of Gods and Men.

More information on the 7 monks may be found here and here.

European Martyrs of the Society of Jesus

God, You patterned the death of [these Jesuits] after the death of Christ, Your Son. Through their intercession, gather into perfect unity all who believe in Him.

By martyrdom a disciple is transformed into an image of his master, who freely accepted death on behalf of the world’s salvation; he perfects that image even to the shedding of blood. The Church, therefore, considers martyrdom as an exceptional gift and as the highest proof of love. (Lumen Gentium, 42)

This common feast commemorates 67 Jesuit martyrs who died in religious conflicts after the Reformation and have been canonized.  Most were French and some were Portuguese. Some of the names are noted here: Jacques Sales, Guillaume Saultemouche, Joseph Imbert, John-Nicholas Cordier, Ignatius de Azevedo, James Julius Bonnaud, William Anthony Delfaud, Francis Balmain, Charles Berauld du Perou, Claude Cayx-Dumas, John Charton de Millou, James Friteyre-Durve, Claude Laporte, Mathurin Le Bous de Villeneuve, Claude Le Gue, Vincent Le Rousseau de Rosancoat, Loup Thomas-Bonnotte and Francis Vareilhe-Duteil.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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