Martyrs of Japan, Priests, Religious and Laity (d. September 10, 1622)
+ Christianity arrived in Japan with Saint Francis Xavier and the first missionaries in the 1540s. In response to the threat of conquest by the Spanish and Portuguese, Japanese shogunate and imperial officials began to seek persecute Japanese Christians and Christian missionaries in an effort to limit European influence and power.
+ Among the thousands of Christians who lost their lives between 1598 and 1632, Blessed Pope Pius IX beatified 205 Christians martyrs in 1867.
+ Among these blessed martyrs were 56 missionaries and lay Christians who were publicly executed together on September 10, 1622. This diverse group included Dominican, Jesuit, and Franciscan priests, seminarians, and religious brothers, as well as husbands, wives and children (the youngest of whom, Petrus Hamanomachi, was only three years old).
+ These 56 martyrs are honored collectively as the martyrs of the “Great Genna Martyrdom of Nagasaki.”
For prayer and reflection
“These are they who come out of the great ordeal and have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. For God’s sake they handed their bodies over for punishment, and they have earned unfading crowns.”—Entrance Antiphon for the Mass of the Common of Several Martyrs
May the sight of the great number of
your holy Martyrs gladden us, O Lord,
making our faith stronger and bringing us
consolation by the prayers of them all.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For Several Martyrs)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.