Pope beatifies Martyrs of Oaxaca

 Yesterday morning, in the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope John Paul II presided at the liturgy of the Word in which he beatified the 'martyrs of Oaxaca,' Juan Bautista and Jacinto de los Angeles. Cardinals and bishops of Mexico and members of the papal entourage concelebrated with the Holy Father. During the ceremony, indigenous languages such as zapoteco, mixteco, nahuatl, mazateco, mixe, maya and purepecha were used. The new Blesseds were two Mexican fathers of families who lived in the second half of the 17th century in the state of Oaxaca. Because of their good qualities, the Dominican missionaries entrusted them to safeguard the purity of the faith and public morality of the local Christian communities. After denouncing a solemn act of idolatry before the ecclesiastical authorities in the community of San Francisco de Cajonos, they were assassinated by their fellow countrymen on September 16, 1700. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints declared the martyrdom of these Servants of God on July 7, 2001. In his homily John Paul II recalled that the Gospel arrived in their land which is "a rich mixture of cultures" in 1529 with the Dominican Fathers who used the "native languages and the manners and customs of the local communities." "With this beatification, the Church emphasizes the mission to proclaim the Gospel to all peoples. The new Blesseds, fruit of the holiness of the First Evangelization among the Zapotec Indians, encourage indigenous people today to appreciate their cultures and languages, and above all their dignity as children of God. This dignity must be respected by others in the context of the Mexican nation, made up of peoples of many different origins but willing to build a common family in solidarity and justice." "The two Blesseds are an example of how, without regarding one's ancestral customs as myths, one can reach God without renouncing one's own culture but letting oneself be enlightened by the light of Christ, which renews the religious spirit of the best popular traditions. Juan Bautista and Jacinto de los Angeles, husbands and fathers of families, and men whose conduct - as their fellow citizens recognized at the time - was blameless, remind Mexican families today of the greatness of their vocation, the value of fidelity and love and the generous acceptance of life." The Pope concluded his words by inviting everyone to renew, before the Virgin of Guadalupe, the commitment to evangelization of the martyrs of Oaxaca. "Let us enable all the Christian communities to share in this task, so that they may proclaim their faith with enthusiasm and pass it on in its entirety to future generations. Evangelize by strengthening the bonds of fraternal communion and by witnessing to your faith by an exemplary life, in the family, at work and in social relations! Seek the Kingdom of God and his justice here on earth through effective, brotherly solidarity with the neediest and the marginalized! Be the builders of hope for all society!" When the liturgy ended, John Paul II went to the international airport in Mexico City and around 1:30 pm local time to begin his twelve-hour journey back to Rome. He will rest now at his summer residence at Castelgandolfo. Source: Vatican Information Service

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