Bl. Mariano Alcalá
Memorial: September 16
Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War
The 19 Mercedarian Friars from the Province of Aragon who suffered persecution and crowned their lives with the palm of martyrdom (Mariano Alcalá, Tomás Carbonell, Francisco Gargallo, Manuel Sancho, José Trallero, Jaime Codina, Mariano Pina, Antonio Lahoz, Perdro Esteban, Tomás Campo, Francisco Llagostera, Serapio Sanz, Enrique Morante, Eduardo Massanet, Amancio Marín, Francisco Mitjá, Antonio González, Jose Reñé, and Lorenzo Moreno) belonged to the communities of Barcelona, Lérida, El Olivar, and San Ramón.
They were not unaware of the hostile environment that was developing in those years, as demonstrated by expressions found in letters that they sent to their relatives. Thus, Blessed Jose Reñé wrote: If we miss this opportunity, we will not have another. In the words of Blessed Jaime Codina: What a great gift to be a martyr; what glory! What good fortune! This environment of staunch witness that was experienced in the religious communities explains how, in the midst of the difficulties, there were no dissections from the faith and how, when they arrived at the final moment, they professed the name of Christ.
Pope Pius XI put it this way in his Allocutio on September 14, 1936:
You are here, dearly beloved sons, to tell us about the great tribulation from which you have come out (Rev. 7:14); a tribulation of which you bear the visible marks and wounds on your persons and in your causes; marks and wounds of the great battle of sufferings that you have borne, having yourselves become a spectacle to our eyes and to those of the whole word (Heb 10:33); dispossessed and despoiled of everything, pursued and sought so as to be put to death in the cities and in the towns, in private homes and in the solitude of the mountains.
You come to tell us about your joy for having been found worthy, like the firs apostles, to suffer for the name of Jesus (Acts 5:41). All this is a splendid display of Christian and priestly virtues, of heroism and martyrdom; true martyrs in the full, sacred, and glorious meaning of the word, even to the sacrifice of the most innocent victims, of venerable elders, of those in the springtime of youth, even to the intrepid generosity that requests a place on the track with the victims who are awaiting the executioner.
And the others? Nothing remains but to love them, and to love them with a special love of compassion and mercy.
Bl. Mariano and his companions, along with others were beatified in the year 2014 in Tarragona, Spain.