1 February 2022 – Witnesses rooted in Christ and boldness in mission
Today (1 February) we celebrate the liturgical memorial of Blessed Philip of Jesús Munárriz Azcona, priest, and his companions, religious and martyrs. As we know, this obligatory memorial for Claretians, commemorates all together the 184 Claretian martyrs who have been beatified so far. We remember, then, following the chronological order of the beatifications, the 51 martyrs of Barbastro (25 October 1992), Fr Andrés Solá Molist (20 November 2005), the 23 martyrs beatified in Tarragona (13 October 2013) and the 109 beatified in Barcelona (22 October 2017). Together with them, we also celebrate the memory of Blessed María Patrocinio Giner, a Claretian Missionary Sister, martyr (beatified on 11 March 2001).
Let us also remember all those of our brothers and sisters whose martyrdom took place during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and who for various reasons have not been recognised until now. Without forgetting another two so well known among us as Fr Francisco Crusats, the first martyr of the Congregation (1868), who caused the admiration and holy envy of Fr Claret; and Fr Rhoel Gallardo, Filipino (2000), whose process of beatification has recently been opened.
The main reason for choosing 1 February as the date of the memorial was to mark the memorial of the Blessed Martyrs with the date of the attack that Claret suffered in Holguin (Cuba) on 1 February 1856. Although our Founder did not die a martyr, as he wished, his missionary spirituality is permeated by the desire to be configured with the Christ who suffers and dies for love. For this reason, the shedding of his blood in Holguín had a great significance for him: “I cannot explain the pleasure, joy and happiness which my soul felt, seeing that I had achieved what I had desired so much, which was to shed blood for the love of Jesus and Mary and to be able to seal with the blood of my veins the truths of the Gospel” (Aut 577).
The liturgical celebration of the memorial of the Claretian Martyrs, after the celebration of the XXVI General Chapter, invites us to welcome in a special way the first words of the post-capitular exhortation: “Beloved Congregation, take root in Christ and be bold in mission” (QC 1). The lives of our confreres are a beautiful and challenging witness of rootedness and boldness. They could not have given their lives with the freedom and courage they did if they had not been deeply united to the Lord.
Let us entrust the Claretian Congregation and the whole Church to the intercession of the Blessed Claretian Martyrs so that we may continue to embrace God’s dream and commit ourselves to fulfil it faithfully.
To read more and for more materials of the Claretian Martyrs: www.itercmf.org