Anthony O. Igbokwe

Martyrdom as a form of radical identification with Christ reflects the cross of Christ and thus evokes the triumph of life over death. Because of its character of identification with Christ, the martyrial life of these brothers of ours does not refer me to their executioners, but to Him in whose name they gave their life. For me, therefore, what defines their martyrdom is not the hatred of faith on the part of their executioners, but their love for Christ reflected in their firm defense of the gospel with their own life. In this sense, I do not define the value of the martyrdom of these Claretian brothers negatively from the persecution; that is to say, from the motivation of their executioners, but positively, from the motivation of our brothers.

That is why their martyrdom challenges me, because, viewed from the key of their own motivation, their martyrdom becomes for the Congregation throughout the world an invitation to live and incarnate here and now the values ​​of the kingdom of God announced by Jesus and to denounce with our lifestyle the counter-values present in the societies where we live.

From this key of reading, every Claretian, wherever he may be, can identify with the martyrdom life of our brothers, and thus, their martyrdom is no longer seen as one of the tragedies of a conjunctural fact in the history of a particular people, but as an invitation for all Claretians to be faithful to our Claretian vocation.

The beatification of such a large group of Claretian missionaries is a unique occasion to give thanks to God for having surrounded us with numerous heroic witnesses of the Gospel and to personally and congregationally renew our missionary commitment.