Vatican City: Pope Francis today, Sunday, October 15th, declared 33 martyrs and 2 others from Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Italy, as the Catholic Church’s new saints at a Canonization Mass in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square.
A group of 3 indigenous martyrs from Mexico – Cristobal, Antonio and Juan – known as the “Child Martyrs of Tlaxcala” were canonized. Aged between 12 and 13, the children were among the first indigenous Catholics of Mexico who were killed between 1527 and 1529 for refusing to renounce their faith and return to their ancient traditions.
The other new saints are martyrs from Brazil, led by Jesuit André de Soveral, murdered in July 1645 by Dutch soldiers. Also in that group is Fr. Ambrosio Francisco Ferro and lay Mateo Moreira, killed for their faith along with 27 other people.
Msgr. Julio César Salcedo Aquino, Bishop of Tlaxcala (Mexico), the city of the three indigenous children and martyrs, where their memory lives on:
“They are the first martyrs from Mexico and the first martyrs from the Americas. In 1527, Cristóbal died, and in 1529 Antonio and Juan died. It happened before the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which were in 1531.
Cristóbal, began to evangelize to his family, to his father, and after insisting for so long, his father got annoyed. One of his wives desired that her son would be the heir, and persuaded him to kill Cristóbal. Antonio and Juan have a different story. They knew of Cristóbal’s death. They went with the missionaries to evangelize and bring the catechism to the towns. Amidst the destruction of idols and everything, they also find death, martyrdom.”
Among the new saints are two European priests. One of them is Spanish Piarist Father Manuel Míguez González, the founder of the Daughters of the Divine Shepherdess, or the Calasanzian Institute in 1855 to take care of little girls. He died in 1925. The other is Italian Cappuchin priest, Fr. Angelo da Acri, who died in 1739.
Fr. Andres Valaecia Henao Postulator General of the Piarist Fathers, said of Father Manuel Míguez González:
“He could see the need of the woman who was not heard, who was not taken into account. He saw that within itself there was a call to provide them with education and training.”
MARÍA JOSÉ SOTELO IGLESIAS of the Calasancio Institute Daughters of the Divine Shepherd added:
“The perspective of a woman is very important. She is considered the apostle of society, the bearer of peace in the family, the most important part of society because of what they contribute to the education of children.”
ALSO: Pope Francis praises Vincentians on 400th anniversary
Greeting 10,000 Vincentians, including 500 priests and even more nuns and thousands of laity in St. Peter’s Square on the 400th anniversary of their founding, Pope Francis thanked God for “the impulse of charity that came from the heart of their founder, St. Vincent De Paul, which has lasted through the centuries.” He strongly encouraged them “to continue in movement on the roads of the world” as they have been doing, and to draw their strength from prayer and the adoration of the Lord, as they reach out to the world’s poor.
The Vincentians had come from 90 countries all over the world for this meeting with “the pope of the poor.” They had brought from France the relic of “the heart of St. Vincent De Paul” for this unique occasion—the first time in their history that they had come together as one international family.
Father Tomaž Mavrič, the superior general of the Vincentian family, welcomed the pope at midday on this beautiful sunny day, in a truly festival atmosphere, enlivened by music and signing. “We thank you for your person, your gift to the church and to the world, and to the poor,” he said, drawing a mighty wave of applause from the thousands in the square, many of whom wore yellow neck-scarves and waved the flags of their home countries.
Pope Francis counseled them to root and anchor all their work “in prayer and adoration of the Lord.” Francis recalled that St. Vincent De Paul, a priest from a peasant family in southwestern France, had encouraged his followers “to cultivate the interior life, and to dedicate themselves to prayer, which purifies and opens the heart.” Francis told them, “prayer is essential, it is the compass for everyday life, it is a guidebook for life.” To pray means “to stop before God, to be with Him, to dedicate oneself simply to him,” he said; it means to “give space to the Lord and to his praise, and nothing else,” and to do so “in silence.” This is “adoration.”
Francis next focused on the need “to go forward” always. He explained that “love is dynamic, it goes out.” The one who loves “does not sit on the armchair, waiting for the coming of a better world, but gets up and goes out with enthusiasm and simplicity.” Saint Vincent put it well, the pope said, when in 1659 he told his followers: “Our vocation is to go, not to a parish, and not even to a diocese, but to the whole world. To do what? To set the hearts of people on fire, doing what the Son of God did, who came to bring fire to the world and set it ablaze with his love.”
Pope Francis concluded by telling the audience, and the more than two million of the Vincentian family in 156 countries on all continents, that this is their noble vocation, and “this vocation is always valid, for everyone.”