The Church Now Has 127 New Blessed Martyrs

Ceremony of Beatification Presided Over by Cardinal Marcello Semeraro in Cordoba, Spain

Blessed Martyrs
Beatification of Juan Elías Medina and 126 fellow martyrs, Oct. 16. 2021, Córdoba, Spain © Diocese of Córdoba

Since October 16, 2021, the Church has 127 more Blessed Martyrs inscribed in the Roman Martyrology. On the morning of that day, the Holy Cathedral Church of Cordoba, Spain, hosted the Beatification ceremony of Father Juan Elias Medina and 126 companion martyrs.

In his address after the Angelus on October 17, 2021, Pope Francis said: “Beatified in Cordoba, Spain, yesterday were Father Juan Elias Medina and 126  companion martyrs: priests, women religious, seminarians and laymen, murdered out of hatred for the faith during the violent religious persecution of the ’30s in Spain. Their fidelity gives all of us strength, especially to persecuted Christians in different parts of the world, the strength to witness the Gospel with courage. An applause for the New Blesseds!”

Beatification Ceremony in Cordoba

 According to a note of the Diocese of Cordoba, at 11:00 am more than 3,000 people gathered in the naves of the Cordoba Cathedral together with almost 200 Priests and some 20 Archbishops and Bishops to take part in the Beatification ceremony of Juan Elias Medina and 126 companion martyrs: priests, seminarians, women religious and lay faithful of the Diocese.

Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and Papal Delegate for the Beatification of these 20th-century martyrs, presided over the celebration. Taking part in it, in addition, was His Holiness’ Nuncio in Spain, Monsignor Bernardito Auza.

According to the same source, after the reading by the Cardinal of the Pontifical Decree for the Beatification of the martyrs, priests, seminarians, <women> religious and lay faithful, great applause erupted in the Holy Cathedral Church at the unveiling of the tapestry, while the choir sang Handel’s Alleluia, the song of praise. At that moment, the procession of the urn took place with the relics of the new Blesseds. Bishop Demetrio Fernandez Gonzalez of Cordoba spoke words of gratitude to the Papal Delegate for this Beatification.

In his allocution, the Prelate said that the Church of Cordoba “thanks the Successor of Peter, His Holiness Pope Francis, for the Beatification of the Servants of God Juan Elias Medina and 126 companions.” Then the Prelate received the Apostolic Letter and the Gloria was intoned.

The Cardinal’s Homily

Cardinal Marcello Semeraro began his homily recalling God’s love, “the merciful love with which He has chosen us.” “In the world’s hatred, there are jealousies and envy of the one who has lost his prey, of the one who has seen how he has been robbed of it. This is, then, the twofold commitment that the word of the Lord wills to awaken in our will: distancing ourselves from the ‘world,’ which here means all those that prefer the darkness to the light, error to truth, hatred to love, and then, also care not to allow ourselves to be seduced by the nostalgia of sin,” said the Cardinal to recall that the stage opened with the announcement of the world’s hatred is, moreover, “exactly the contrary of the other comforting word full of promises.”

He also pointed out that not all difficulties and adversities are, then, “hatred of the world, but only violence that falls on us because we are the Lord’s.”

On the day in which the Church has declared these martyrs Blessed, it is an occasion to contemplate that “it’s a group that puts before us a variety of human profiles, a richness, and profundity of spirituality, often also with deep roots in the theological sciences, expressed in the multiplicity of daily experiences, before reaching the summit of martyrdom that seals their whole existence with their blood,” he explained.

“We are before a vision of history whose memory can become a place of evangelization in secularized contexts. It is the testimony of a Church circumdata varietate. It’s like the Pentecost explosion, the realization of Joel’s prophecy. The Holy Spirit erupts on all,” he added.

 Gratitude of the Bishop of Cordoba

Before concluding the celebration, the Bishop of Cordoba, took the floor to thank the Holy Father in the name of the city, of the presbytery, of the faithful, and in his own name for this Beatification. Great applause sounded in the Cathedral’s naves where, as the Prelate said, “We celebrate with immense joy the Beatification of the 127 martyrs, when the Church rejoices with the best among her children who are, therefore, those who reached the glory of Heaven with a greater love.”

“The love of Christ has revolutionized history profoundly, transforming the torture of the Cross into a channel of Redemption. The martyrs’ torture has produced among us a greater love and today we verify once again that the Christina life is channel of humanization, reconciliation, and peace for peoples,” he asserted.

Monsignor Fernandez expressed his gratitude especially to Pope Francis, for having inscribed Cordoba’s martyrs in the list of Blessed of the Church, as well as the Cardinal, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and all those that made it possible to reach the Beatification. “The Cause that the present Archbishop Emeritus of Seville initiated one day has reached a happy end, we now await a miracle and hope to see one another in Rome very soon, said the Bishop of Cordoba, hoping that these martyrs will become “seed of the Gospel.”

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester