Fourteen Prague Martyrs Beatified
Prague: At the beginning of the Mass, which was attended by the 6,000 believers, 250 priests, at least 300 monastic brothers and sisters, and four cardinals, the decree of beatification was read by the representative of the Holy Father and then the relics of the Franciscans were brought in. Shortly thereafter, the beatification picture, painted by Thomas Císařovský, was unveiled to the visitors filling the cathedral and was seen by the public for the first time. This was followed by the Mass which, due to international participation, was celebrated in Latin. "The desecration of a sacred place and killing of these fourteen devoted people is in tragic contrast with the goodness of their lives. These blessed martyrs did not act in hatred, but prayed, worked and did good deeds. They were humble witnesses of Christ's love, his Calvary, his forgiveness. Their beatification floods our hearts and minds with feelings of peace, brotherly love, and joy; especially today, when there is such a great need for peace and understanding. Let us plant their seed of goodness and may it grow into a majestic tree which flowers and brings forth fruits of reconciliation and brotherly love,” Cardinal Angelo Amato said in his homily.
As pointed out by Bro. Jose Rodriguez Carballo, Minister General of the Franciscan Order, this beatification is important from the point of view that those beatified were an international group. Another interesting component is that their entire community is beatified, which emphasizes the element of its fidelity to the Eucharist. Former Nuncio to the Czech Republic, Cardinal Giovanni Coppa gave a heartfelt greeting to all present. "This beatification is a great gift for which we have waited so many years. Today, the process has come to a happy ending and we must be grateful to Benedict XVI. This is a sign of the affection he holds for the Czech nation," he added.
In the afternoon, the authentication was signed and the vessel with the relics of the beatified martyrs was sealed.
The process of beatification, which began in the 17th century, was interrupted over time for various reasons. In modern history, it was restored at the request of the bishops in 1992 and a successful end was finally reached after more than 400 years. On 10 January 2012, the regular meeting of the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints was held in Rome, which followed the meeting of the committee of historians in 2003 and the theologians’ commission in 2011. The Bishops and Cardinals have now confirmed that in the case of all fourteen brothers they are true martyrs. On 10 May 2012, Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree confirming the character of the death of the fourteen Prague monks, Frederick Bachstein and others, as martyrdom, thus completing the canonical process and opening the way for their beatification.
Přeložila Rachel Brunclíková