On Saturday afternoon, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins CMF, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica during which, by order of the Pope, he read out the Apostolic Letter by which the Holy Father proclaims the following Servants of God as Blesseds: Josep Tapies Sirvant and six companions, priests, martyrs; and Maria de los Angeles Ginard Marti, professed religious of the Sisters Guardians of the Eucharistic Cult, virgin and martyr. At the end of the ceremony, Benedict XVI arrived in the basilica to venerate the relics of the martyrs and address some words in Spanish and Catalan to the pilgrims present. "During the religious persecution in Spain," the Holy Father said, "the exemplary group of priests of Urgell gave up their lives for their faithfulness to the priestly ministry, which they carried out with great commitment in the parish communities entrusted to their care. Bearing witness to their priestly condition and forgiving their persecutors, they gave their lives while invoking the King of the Universe." The Pope expressed the hope that the blessed priests "intercede for the diocese of Urgell and for other Spanish dioceses, for priestly and religious vocations, and for the growth of Christian virtues in all the faithful." Speaking of the Blessed Maria de los Angeles, who was born in the diocese of Mallorca, Benedict XVI recalled how she "suffered martyrdom in Madrid during the same period of persecution. Totally committed to the Lord in religious life, she dedicated long hours to the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, yet without neglecting her service to the community. Thus did she prepare herself to give her life as a supreme expression of love for Christ." "For us, these new Blesseds are a living example of priestly identity and religious consecration," he concluded. "Let us give thanks to God for the great gift of these heroic witnesses of the faith. Blessed Josep Tapies and Blessed Maria de los Angeles, pray for the ecclesial communities of Urgell, Madrid, Mallorca and all Spain! Amen." Source: VIS
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