Pope Francis proclaimed 35 new saints to the Catholic church, 33 of whom were martyrs from past centuries, during Sunday mass in St. Peter’s Square.
Dutch Calvinists killed 30 of the martyrs, now canonized as saints, in Brazil in 1645 for being Catholic, according to the Associated Press. The other three martyrs now considered saints were children, ages 12 and 13, who were killed in Mexico in the 1520s for refusing to return to their community’s ancient beliefs and renounce their newfound Catholic faith. (Related: Pope Francis Adds A New Path To Sainthood)
“They did not say a fleeting ‘yes’ to love, they said ‘yes’ with their lives and to the very end,” Francis said during the Canonization Mass, according to Vatican Radio.
The other two new saints were an Italian priest who died in 1739 and a Spanish priest who died in the 20th century. Francis’ canonization of these new saints continues his trend of paying special honor to those who remain faithful in the face of suffering or death, especially modern martyrs in the Middle East, according to AP. Francis said the new saints should serve as models to “point the way” for Catholics to continue making the daily choice to walk in faith.
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