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Beatification of the 68 Marist martyrs - 11 and 12 October

15/10/2013: Spain - Photo gallery

The celebration reminds us of the paschal triduum : three days, three different moments, but with a total unity. The celebration of Friday afternoon with a sense of family, like Holy Thursday. A group of brothers and laity from the different Provinces of Europe, the General House in Rome, and other parts of the Marist world, with the families of the neighbouring villages, gathered around 4 o’clock for the presentation of the book « The courage of faith », written by Br Lluís Serra, of the Province of L’Hermitage

The act took place in the church of the monastery of Les Avellanes. Brothers Emili Turú S.G., Ernesto Sánchez C.G., and Maurice Berquet, Provincial of l’Hermitage presided. Br Ernesto  presented Br Lluís, emphasizing his qualifications and formation. Br Lluís then spoke, explaining the meaning of his work and the keys to its interpretation. The Superior General, in his turn, underlined that the work led the reader « not to remain indifferent », since it tells, in a brief manner and the present tense, of the death of 68 persons. « Their life, and not only their death, challenges us », he concluded.

Then the buses carried pilgrims, brothers and families to the place where Br Crisanto was assassinated, the « Mas del Pastor », in Tartareu. The account of the brother’s martyrdom was read, and Mme Angelina Amorós, who had known him, gave a beautiful and moving testimony to the martyr. Gratitude was also expressed, by means of a beautiful floral wreathe, to the families of the region who helped and took in the brothers and juniors, in difficult circumstances, with courage and generosity.

The participants then went back to the monastery of Les Avellanes to begin the eucharistic celebration in the fronton court, where the « 4 martyrs of the fronton court » were shot. There the liturgy of the Word was celebrated – the first reading the account of the martyrdom of the 4 brothers : Aquilino, Fabián, Félix Lorenzo and Ligorio. The Gospel was the narrative of the  passion of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke. All then went in procession up to the cemetery behind where, around the statue of Mary, they listened to the testimony of Br Inocencio Martínez and joined in the prayers of the faithful. The eucharist concluded in the church with a homage at the shrine of the martyrs. At the end of the celebration, Br Emili said : « If one wanted to sum up the life of these brother martyrs in one word, it would be « fidelity ».

The Superior General did not fail to show his gratitude to the persons of the surrounding villages who, in every circumstance, felt so close to the brothers, that they formed a single family. The General Councillors presented to all present a little cross, symbol of the life and martyrdom of the brothers and also of the mission of the Marists. In fact, the crosses were made by the youth of the social centre of Alcantarilla, Murcia, where some brothers of the  Province of « Mediterránea » carry out their mission. Finally, all shared a festive supper.

12 October : homage to the brother martyrs and their families

Early the next morning, the brothers began the day with the Dawn Rosary, a pilgrimage from the fountain at the entrance to the monastery up to the statue of the Virgin of the « Puig » (hill).

The pilgrims of Les Avellanes then headed for Barcelona (the College of La Inmaculada), where they joined other groups from different parts of Spain and a large number of the martyrs’ relatives. The day was like a Good Friday : homage and celebration of the martyrdom symbolised by a cross corresponding to each of the 68 martyrs, then presented to their families. The celebration began in the school courtyard with a dramatic representation of who the Marist Brothers were and are, living in community and carrying out their mission among children and young people. It must not be forgotten that the brothers and two lay martyrs in their time lived this particular way of being Marist.

A celebration of the faith followed in the main hall of the college, where the group « Kairoi » sang songs appropriate to the occasion. Br Emili addressed the participants, stressing the significance of the martyrdom and how our martyrs challenge us : « It may be that we do not understand the process of beatification and canonisation very well », he said, « but our martyrs surprise us with a message very relevant today. »

At the end of the celebration, the Superior General took the opportunity to thank all the  persons who collaborated to arrive at this summit, the beatification of our 68 Marist martyrs : postulators, organizers and others who had lent a hand. Each one received, as a sign of gratitude, a copy of the symbolic image created by the artist Goyo. The day finished with a festive and fraternal supper in the college courtyard.

The third day, Sunday, stamped with a paschal atmosphere… will be the subject of the next chronicle.

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