Today the Salesian Family remembers Blessed Joseph Calasanz Marqués and Henry Saiz Aparicio, priests, with their 93 companions martyrs.
On 22 September occurs the celebration of the memorial of the martyrs of the Salesian Family in Spain, which reminds us that in the faith experience and the history of the Church the martyr is a sign of fruitfulness.
There are 95 martyrs: those from Valencia and Barcelona, led by the Provincial Fr José Calasanz Marques (32); those from Madrid, led by Fr Enrique Saiz Aparicio (42); those of Seville with Fr Luis Torrero (21) at the head. In the group of 95 there are: 39 priests, 25 brothers, 22 clerical students, 2 FMA sisters, 3 Salesian Cooperators (one woman and two men), 2 postulants, a workman and a man attached to the Salesian community.
“As at the beginning of Christianity and while it was first spreading so in our own days the Church has become once again a Church of martyrs.” – comments Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, Postulator General for the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family– “Martyrdom is the participation in a vital and real way in the sacrifice of Christ, almost a Eucharist. It expresses in a extreme manner that essential and necessary dimension of Christian life that we all have to understand, accept and take up: giving one’s life. Therefore Christian life is always open to the possibility of martyrdom, which can be viewed as a grace offered to us rather than as a goal to be desired or achieved. In addition it represents the most prophetic encounter between the Spirit, grace and the way of life proposed by Christ and what we call the ‘world’ understood as the combination of the powers of evil.”
“Maryrdom, the shedding of blood, as well as the offering of one’s life in daily sacrifice, is an essential aspect of the Salesian spirit. We too are called to count on the matchless assistance of our martyrs to fill with hope our apostolic initiatives and our pastoral efforts in the not always easy task of the new evangelisation. For us too the words should be true: Sanguis martyrum, semen christianorum. The blood of martyrs is the seed of new Christians! We should not be discouraged therefore in the face of difficulties: we are looking to the future in good company!” the Postulator concludes.