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Thanks Giving Celebration for the Recent Beatification

14/11/2013: Spain

On October 24, 2003, the remains of eight out of the eleven brothers belonging to the martyred community of Toledo were legally recognized before an ecclesiastical committee. In those unfortunate days of 1936, there were sixteen brothers in the community, but four young brothers had gone to Murcia for a summer course. Brother Claudio Luis escaped death, and therefore was able to witness what happened to his fellow brothers who were killed.

Eleven brothers were martyred, ten of them on August 23, and Brother Jorge Luis on the following day. The mortal remains of only eight of them were found; they were murdered in different places, so the remains of three of them have not been located. On October 25, 2003, Saturday, the remains of eight martyrs were buried in the parish of Santa Teresa, next to Saint Mary’s Marist School in Toledo. The remains had been kept in small urns, which after the Mass were placed by a member of the family within a marble sarcophagus in the left aisle, also called Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.

 

Thanks Giving Mass

Precisely ten years later, the parish of Santa Teresa, dressed in its best for the occasion, celebrated the thanks giving Mass – presided over by Monsignor Braulio Rodríguez – for the beatification of the martyred Marist community, which had taken place on October 13.

Posters of the blessed brothers – placed on processional crosses and framed by palm leaves as symbols of martyrdom – led the entrance procession of the Mass: Cipriano José (Director, Julián Iglesias), Abdón (Luis Iglesias), Bruno José (Ángel Ayape), Anacleto Luis (Emiliano Busto), Eduardo María (Francisco Alonso), Félix Amancio (Amancio Noriega), Jean-Marie (Félix Celestin Gombert, French), Evencio (Florencio Pérez), Javier Benito (Jerónimo Alonso), Jorge Luis (Lorenzo Lizasoáin), and Julio Fermín (Julio Múzquiz).

A dozen priests concelebrated, including some Marist alumni (José Carlos Gómez-Menor, Félix del Valle, Jesús Balmori, and Rafael Torregrosa), the parish priest of Santa Teresa, Amadeo Galán, and his coadjutors, one of which, Pedro Carpintero, is the chaplain for the Marist School and the community.

There were also many participants: Blessed Brother Jorge Luis’s relatives, who came from Navarre, the martyr’s native land; Br. Ambrosio Alonso, Provincial of Ibérica; Br. José Félix Martín Bernal, Director of the school; the Marist community of Toledo, Brothers Enrique Benito (Superior), José Ignacio Peña, Nemesio García, Jesús María Lara, and Joaquín López; Brothers Eduardo and Aniceto, former Directors of the school; a number of brothers from the neighboring communities of Talavera, Madrid, Guadalajara, Villalba, and Los Molinos, some of them former teachers of Toledo; alumni, families of the students, friends, religious, the church congregation, and the spectacular school choir.

Out of the 522 Martyrs beatified in Tarragona, 68 were Marists – 66 brothers and 2 lay men – 11 of which were from Toledo.

The homily in the light of the Word of God by Monsignor Braulio helped us reflect on what the beatifications mean for us, in a spirit of peace and joy.

In unison with the universal Church through the prayer of the faithful, we brought the world’s need for peace to the altar, especially in those regions where the brothers are still risking their lives: Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, and Pakistan. We prayed for the Marist educational community of Toledo, so that the martyrs’ strength may fortify their faith.

A few symbolic offerings were presented along with the bread and wine: a lit candle reminded us of how living faith brings light to others; a stole embroidered for the occasion, of our martyrs’ shedding their blood; the clicker (chasca), of their dedication to the education of children and youth; and the image of the Good Mother, of Mary as an unmistakable path leading to Christ.

The choir integrated by 5th and 6th grade students animated the celebration, and beautifully expressed our prayer for the peace of humankind.

Brother Miguel Ángel Martínez – Brother Eduardo María’s relative, who has worked in Central America for 15 years – addressed a final word of thanks. The family of Miguel Rojo – a former student who was martyred together with the brothers – invited us to join their prayer, which began in the distant year of 1936 with the three carnations they placed in Fuente Salobre (Brackish Fountain) as a memorial to Uncle Miguel, Brother Amancio, his teacher, and to those who took his life.

We gathered around the martyrs’ tomb to end the celebration, entrusting to the Good Mother our desire to follow the example of our blessed Marist martyrs.

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