30 March 2021
New martyrs

Nothing is foreign for Christians

Our spiritual closeness with the martyrs is good for Christian communities in difficulty, but it is especially good for us.

In the basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, in accord with the limitations of the anti-COVID protocols and broadcast throughout the world via internet livestreaming, Cardinal Farrell presided over a prayer vigil commemorating modern-day martyrs.

After hearing the names and moving stories of those who, in recent years, have given their lives for the Gospel, the Prefect gave the homily. “Our prayer,” he said, “is meant to be a gesture of closeness to the martyrs of all Christian churches, and to their families and communities” because, as Pope Francis has shown us in his recent journey in the footsteps of Abraham, “what happens in Iraq or Pakistan happens as though it was here. Nothing is foreign to us anymore. We are all near to each other.”

According to this perspective, the commemoration of the contemporary martyrs is an act of solidarity with those communities of Christians—including non-Catholics—who are most in difficulty, but above all it is a blessing for those who remember them. Cardinal Farrell continued: “The global health crisis we are experiencing can cause, even in us Christians, a dangerous withdrawal into ourselves. Because of this, looking towards martyrs is good for us. With their lives […] they show us that the purpose of life is not simply to protect it from all danger, but to give it out of love. Their testimony—often meek, silent, and unknown to the world—tells us that it is not separation from others, but rather love for each other, that saves us.

In conclusion, the Cardinal wished to thank the members of the Community of Sant’Egidio for their daily commitment to the poor and to the peace that is “a great motivation for all to keep alive this ‘high ideal’ of Christian life, which the martyrs embody.”