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31st October 1996

30/04/2004: Dem. Rep. of the Congo

“My dear Brothers, we owe great thanks to God for having chosen us to carry the light of the gospel to those people in darkness; that favour will turn out to be a source of blessing for the Institute. If we measure up to the designs of God for us, he will grant us, in turn, everything necessary to carry out that difficult task; …
Yes, I say without hesitation, and the very thought is a great source of joy and consolation to me, one day the Institute will have its martyrs: priests and Brothers put to death by the people they go to instruct, giving their lives for Jesus Christ…
Don’t make the mistake of believing that the task devolves only upon the lucky ones chosen to travel to those distant lands; it is the responsibility of the whole Institute. It may not fall to our lot to consecrate our labours, our strength and our health to that work; we are, in such a case, even more obliged to promote its success by our prayers, by our good example and by every sort of virtue.” (Life of J. B. M. Champagnat, pages 203 and 204)

“A Church that does not remember its martyrs of yesterday and no longer recognises its martyrs of today cannot claim the honour of being the Church of Christ… In our century martyrs have returned and their witness must not be lost in the Church…” (John Paul II, NMA, 37)

Let’s live each day in a spirit of discernment, seeking honestly what the Lord wants of us. Our recently martyred Brothers are a powerful encouragement to us to live in creative fidelity to the message of Marcellin, in giving ourselves without reserve to those whom the Lord places in our path, particularly the little ones. (Choose life, 50)

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