This large beatification, approved by the Pope, and corresponding to that of the Claretian Martyrs Mateu Casals, Teófilo Casajús, and Ferran Saperas, and 106 companions (Claretian priests, brothers and students) for me means primarily a congregational bond and an interpellation for my life.
The 109 Claretian martyrs who will be beatified have left us a sign of their fidelity and firmness in the Christian faith. Testimony of faith, of love and fidelity to their vocation, of forgiveness for their executioners, of love for the Congregation and for the Church; testimony of hope and life in Christ, dead and risen.
The beatification is the conclusion of a long process begun about 70 years ago, in which the witness of many people who testify to the truthfulness of this fidelity and dedication of the lives of each of them, segregated for being religious and of manifest forgiveness towards those who killed them.
The sense that these beatifications have today should not be sought in any way to revive the convulsive political circumstances of the moment of the events, nor in any intention of polemic, but in the testimony of faith and forgiveness of this so numerous group of our brothers. Testimonies that should stimulate us in the courage of our following of Christ and be instruments of forgiveness and reconciliation around the world. We must put all means so that conflicts and differences are never resolved with violence, but with dialogue and respect.
There are 109 human lives and stories intertwined with common elements: firmness in faith and vocation, community and congregational belonging, deep experience of piety based on the experience of God’s love and Marian filiation. They agree not to want to put at risk the lives of those who helped them and to forgive those who killed them. As well as in a love and availability to the Congregation and to the Church, in the community feeling, which led them to watch over each other in the various experiences they had to face, as individuals or as a group, until the moment of death, sign of fidelity and love until the end.
As Provincial of the Claretians of Catalonia I am delighted that this event takes place in Catalonia, in the basilica of the Sagrada Familia, and I cannot but thank the Cardinal-Archbishop of Barcelona – on behalf of the Claretian Missionaries – the reception of the celebration in the Archdiocese of Barcelona. And, also, all the good coordination and facilities on the part of the Patronato and personnel of the Sagrada Familia headed by its President delegate.