May 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 85
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

List Includes Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants

    VATICAN CITY, APR 30 (ZENIT.org).- On Sunday, May 7, Day of the Martyrs in this Jubilee Year 2000, John Paul II will solemnly remember the witnesses of faith who sacrificed their lives in the bloodstained 20th century.

    In consultation with local churches, the Commission of New Martyrs, established by the Holy Father for the Jubilee, and presided over by Ukrainian Bishop Michel Hrynshyshyn, has carried out impressive research throughout the world to identify the martyrs of our century. The 20th century "martyrology" includes 12,792 men and women of our time; it will be given to John Paul II at the end of the year 2000. He will make the final decision about its publication.

    During a press conference on April 28, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president of the Vatican Committee of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, explained that "each local Church must undertake not to forget these exemplary witnesses of the faith confessed with the supreme sacrifice of their lives. For us May 7 must be the occasion to understand more profoundly and to manifest greater solidarity with those who suffered and continue to suffer in the flesh, because of their unbreakable faith in God."

    Like Paul VI when he commemorated the Ugandan martyrs, John Paul II wishes to extend this endeavor in solidarity to all those men and women of other Christian denominations who gave their life for Christ. It is important to note that these witnesses of faith to be mentioned on May 7 are not being declared martyrs of the Catholic Church, but rather "witnesses of faith."

    The ecumenical commemoration will be held in the Colosseum. The Holy Father will meet leaders of other Christian confessions and ecclesial communities. The meeting will be followed by a procession outside the Colosseum. After the liturgy of the Word, the Pope will deliver a homily and introduce the confession of faith. At the end, the 20th century martyrs will be commemorated in groups of 8 categories. The list includes Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants.

    The groups of commemorated 20th century martyrs are the following: Christians who witnessed their faith under Soviet totalitarianism; witnesses of faith who were victims of communism in other European countries; confessors of the faith who were victims of Nazism and fascism; followers of Christ who gave their life proclaiming the Gospel in Asia and Oceania; Christian faithful persecuted out of hatred for the Catholic faith; witnesses of evangelization in Africa and Madagascar; Christians who gave their life out of love for Christ and their brothers in America; and witnesses of the faith in different parts of the world. At the end of the commemoration, the Holy Father will request that the memory of these "martyrs" be kept alive by all.

    During the press conference to present this ecumenical commemoration, it was clarified that the occasion is not for beatifications or canonizations, but the Catholic Church's endeavor to praise God and in justice, remember those who gave their life for the faith. All local Churches have been invited to join the Holy Father on May 7 in the ecumenical commemoration and to draw inspiration form the texts and prayers that will be part of the celebration at the Colosseum. ZE00043004


May 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 85

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