Vatican beatifies 13 Mexican martyrs

The Vatican on Sunday beatified 13 Mexicans who died during a Catholic uprising in the late 1920s that was crushed by the Mexican government.

CLICK HEREAssociated Press reports that the faithful nearly filled Guadalajara's 60,000-seat soccer stadium, where Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins arrived from Rome to oversee the ceremony.

Those without tickets ringed the stadium and listened from the outside, while thousands of others tuned in to radio and television broadcasts in nearby restaurants and shops.

The Portuguese-born Saraiva Martins, who heads the Vatican office overseeing the process for sainthood, called the martyrs "faithful witnesses" to the power of the church.

Sketches of each martyr adorned the field, arranged around a towering cross. Pope Benedict XVI appeared on video screens, reading a message in Spanish from the Vatican.

"They are a permanent example for us," the pope said of the martyrs, "an encouragement to give concrete testimony of our own faith in today's society."

The 1917 constitution that grew out of the Mexican revolution tightened restrictions on the church, banning public masses and religious garb. It capped a century of setbacks for the church, which had enjoyed a government-imposed monopoly on faith for most of the 300 years following Spain's conquest of Mexico in 1521.

Another of the Mexicans represented in Sunday's ceremony was Ramon Vargas Gonzalez, who was known for his preaching on behalf of the church before he was shot along with his brother on April 1, 1927.

Vatican Beatifies 13 Mexican Martyrs (The Guardian/Associated Press 21/11/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Beatification 20 November 2005 (Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations)

Charles de Foucauld beatified in Rome (CathNews 14/11/05)
Newly-beatified Mother Rosa hailed as friend to the poor (CathNews 8/11/05)
Beatification again delayed for French priest (CathNews 1/11/05)
Spanish martyrs beatified at Vatican ceremony (CathNews 31/10/05)

A celebration for Charles de Foucauld (AsiaNews.it 21/11/05)
Newly announced Mexican martyrs faced death to defend Christian faith, says Pope (Catholic News Agency 21/11/05)
Mexican "Cristeros" martyrs beatified (Catholic World News 21/11/05)
Pope Sends Greetings for Beatifications (Zenit 20/11/05)
A Mexican Gandhi Nears Beatification (Zenit 14/11/05)

22 Nov 2005