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Msgr. Romero was killed while celebrating Mass … and so were these four other priests

2015-05-22

Pope Saint Sixtus II died in the third century and Saint Stanislaus of Poland in the eleventh. Although they lived hundreds of years apart in completely different contexts, these two have something in common: They were both murdered while celebrating mass.

Sixtus II was arrested and beheaded under the persecution of Emperor Valerian. Saint Stanislaus, however, was murdered for exposing the cruelty and promiscuity of Poland's king. Some believe it was the king who killed the saint while he celebrated Mass.

MSGR. JORGE PATRÓN WONG
Secretary for Seminars, Congregation for the Clergy
"All saints, their every day service, simply, of daily life, is fed by the Eucharist. And this prepares them for pinnacle moments, moments of martyrdom.”

A beatification will take place on May 23 in El Salvador for a martyr who was shot while celebrating Mass in 1980. His murder shocked all of Latin America. This is Oscar Romero, of course, the Archbishop of San Salvador.

MSGR. JORGE PATRÓN WONG
Secretary for Seminars, Congregation for the Clergy
"In the case of Archbishop Oscar Romero, and many saints, their daily Eucharist gave them the light of the Gospel to face difficult situations. Every day, every Christian experiences difficult situations: economic, political, social. They must face them with mercy, love, forgiveness, fraternity, even though these situations are unjust and go against the dignity of the person.”

Another martyr whose death had a great impact at the time was Thomas Becket, who was killed in 12th century England. He was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, though not while celebrating Mass. He became a symbol of state inference in the rights of the Church.

The martyrdom of Oscar Romero, Pope Saint Sixtus II and Saint Stanislaus are among the best known, but they are far from alone. Each lived and died in very different times and situations. Despite the adversity, all remained firm in their faith and paid the ultimate price.


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