Thursday, November 6th, 2008
Once upon a time, the Order celebrated all of its Far Eastern martyrs on this day. To give them greater individual attention, the calendar now has three feasts for these holy witnesses, distinguishing them by country. On January 15, we remember St. Francis de Capillas and the martyrs of China. On November 24, we commemorate St. Ignatius Delgado and the martyrs of Vietnam. Today, we celebrate the feast of Blessed Alfonsus Navarete and the Dominican martyrs of Japan.
The Dominican Ordo instructs us: “Alfonsus Navarrete, a Spanish Dominican, was beheaded at Omura on June 1, 1617. In 1622, nine Spanish Dominicans were burned to death at Nagasaki. During the years 1614-1632 more than a hundred Spanish and native Japanese Dominicans—novices, cooperator brothers, and tertiary and confraternity members—were martyred.”
Giving us a better glimpse into the life of Blessed Alfonsus, we read this at Catholic Online:
A native of Valladolid, Spain, Alphonsus Navarette, a Dominican missionary priest, came to Nagasaki, Japan after serving in the Philippines. He established for the Japanese Catholic laity three confraternities dedicated to nursing the sick and to rescuing babies left to die by their pagan parents. On one occasion, Father Alphonsus courageously protected and defended several Japanese Catholic women threatened by a vicious pagan mob. While experiencing an ecstasy, he was inspired to travel to Omura to encourage the Catholics suffering persecution there. The Catholics of Omura flocked to Father Alphonsus and to the Augustinian priest Ferdinand Ayala, a native of Ballesteros, Spain, who had previously served in Mexico. The two priests were soon arrested by the pagan authorities. Thereafter, the laity’s continued attempts to visit Father Alphonsus and Father Ferdinand prompted the authorities to execute both priests. At their execution, Leo Tanaca, a Japanese lay catechist affiliated with the Jesuits, was beheaded for his faith together with them.
Click here for an account of Blessed Alfonsus’ martyrdom published in Dominican Missions and Martyrs of Japan, a wonderful little book written by Fr. Bertrand Wilberforce, OP.
Holy Martyrs of Japan, pray for us!
From Sr. Therese Marie, SV, at the Visitation Mission (E. 66th Street):
I would like to invite you to become a coworker of life – to learn more click here: http://www.sistersoflife.org/vm.html
Please consider coming to our next Co-worker training, Saturday, November 8th. It will take place in Stamford, CT at our retreat center Villa Maria Guadalupe. Please invite those you know who would like to be involved in our mission to serve pregnant women with the heart of Christ. The training begins at 9am and ends at 6pm, followed by an optional dinner (there is an optional 7:15am Mass Saturday morning followed by 8am registration and breakfast.) Overnight rooms are available at no charge. There is no charge for anything this weekend. This is a day of training for those who will be working with us to serve pregnant women doing anything from going out for cup of tea to opening up your house to a woman (or all the things in the middle – driving her to appointments, helping to fill out forms, or just talking on the phone – all of this makes an incredible difference.)
The day of training will include:
If you are interested in helping the Sisters of Life, please email visitation.mission (at) archny (dot) com.