The Vigil

Card. Farrell: “The martyrs are visionaries who announce the dawn of a new world!”


In the Roman basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, where several thousands of people had gathered, Card. Farrell presided the Vigil in memory of the contemporary martyrs, an event that the Community of Sant'Egidio has been organizing for many years now in the heart of Holy Week. In recent years, cardinals, bishops and lay people of every Christian denomination have given their lives for the Gospel. During this time of prayer, special mention was made of the recent attacks in Egypt, in which forty-five Coptic Christians were killed while celebrating Palm Sunday.

Card. Farrell spoke of the martyrs calling them “visionaries.” They dream—he added—of a reconciled humanity and possible peace among men. They firmly believe with the Psalmist that “it is good and pleasant when brothers live together in unity!” (Psa 133:1). In our world, where people, where compete to see who will build the highest walls on the border, where we hear the clamor of continuous warfare, and where extremist fringe of all factions deny the wealth of diversity, these “embers of hope” announced the dawn of a new world.

Candles were lighted during the reading of the long and moving list of the names of these people —including the catechist Lino, who died a few months ago in South Sudan, and whose story we shared on this site.

Card. Farrell concluded his homily with these words, addressed to the Community of Sant’Egidio: “You’re doing good—he said—by holding the spotlights on the martyrs and reminding us all of the fundamental task of preserving the memory of their sacrifice, so that their sufferings may not be swallowed up by the lack of interest, the forgetfulness, the indifference, and the addiction to evil that so strongly characterize today’s world.”

12 April 2017