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Protomatyrs of Brazil: examples of Eucharistic devotion, faithfulness to the Church and missionary commitment


Rio Grande do Norte (Agenzia Fides) – There is great joy in Rio Grande do Norte after the news that the canonization of the Protomartyrs of Brazil will take place on 15 October: André de Soveral, Ambrosio Francisco Ferro, priests, Matteo Moreira, Layman, and other 27 wer killed in faith in Brazil on July 16, 1645 and October 3, 1645.

Yesterday, Pope Francis, during the Ordinary Consistory, spoke about the date of the canonization, which will be celebrated at St. Peter’s on October 15. The promulgation of the decree of canonization had taken place on 23 March.

As the note sent to Fides from local sources informs, not only in Cunhaú and Uruacu, but in the whole Rio Grande do Norte and in many other cities in Brazil, people pray for the Protomartyrs of Brazil, especially whenever an Eucharistic Congress or the Corpus Christi feast is celebrated, as they have always been considered examples of Eucharistic devotion, loyalty to the Church, and missionary commitment.

These are the words of St. John Paul II during the celebration of the beatification of the 44 martyrs, on March 5, 2000, in St. Peter’s.

“These are the sentiments that fill our hearts as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the evangelization of Brazil, which occurs this year (2000). In this immense country, the implanting of the Gospel encountered many difficulties.

The Church’s presence was gradually strengthened through the missionary activity of various orders and religious congregations and by priests of the diocesan clergy.

The martyrs beatified today came, at the end of the 17th century, from the communities of Cunhaú and Uruaçu in Rio Grande do Norte. Fr André de Soveral, Fr Ambrósio Francisco Ferro and 28 lay companions belong to this generation of martyrs who watered their homeland, making it fertile for a generation of new Christians.

They are the first fruits of the missionary work, the protomartyrs of Brazil. One of these, Mateus Moreira, had his heart ripped out through his back while he was still alive, and yet he had the strength to proclaim his faith in the Eucharist, saying: “Praised be the Blessed Sacrament”.