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Friday, October 19, 2007

Feast of the North American Martyrs

Martyrdom, losing one's life for Christ, has been a source of grace for the Church since the very beginning of its existence. Today we celebrate six Jesuit priests and two of their lay companions who were martyred between 1642-1649 by the Juron and Mohawk tribes in territory now known as the United States and Canada.Jean de Brebeuf and Issac Jogues are the most famous. The account of the gruesome martyrdom of Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemont is found in the "Jesuit Relations." We pray to all of the North American martyrs to continue to "protect this land blessed by the shedding of their blood and renew in these days our Catholic faith which they helped to establish in the new land." (From a Jesuit novena quoted in this month's "Living for Christ".)
Let us remember to thank for the many who have given their lives for Christ; may their example give us the fortitude to hold on to the faith today. I am grateful for all the saints and martyrs who have witnessed to Christ and are with us today in the Communion of Saints. No matter what the difficulty of the day, we have a crowd of people in heaven to call upon for help. Best of all, Christ is with us and can do all things!

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