From Our Pastor's Desk
From Our Pastor's Desk
Sunday, January 14, 2024 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B Readings: 2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16, Psalm 89 “For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord”, Romans 16: 25-27, Luke 1: 26-38
The Cause for Beatification
History of the Beatification Effort
Finally, in the early 1980s the founding Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, René Henry Gracida, in cooperation with all of the Florida bishops, took steps to open the cause for sixteen Florida martyrs, including three Dominicans (1549), one Jesuit (1566), ten Franciscans (1647, 1704), and two native Indians (1704). In 1982 Bishop Gracida met in Rome with Father Antonio Cairoli, Postulator General of the Franciscans, and he worked with historian Monsignor William Kerr, who was to accept appointment as Vice-Postulator. Bishop Gracida was advised by Cardinal Palazzini, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Cause of Saints and Divine Worship, to put the effort on hold because ap-proval of a new set of procedures for historic causes was expected. Father Alban Maquire, O.F.M., Minister Provin-cial of Holy Name Province of Franciscan Friars in New York, wrote to Bishop Gracida: “Since in any case a process of canonization takes a considerable amount of time, we can afford to be patient for a few more months.” Yet Bishop Gracida testified that “there is an important story to be told . . . The martyrs have a place in history and are acknowledged by historians. The martyrs should also have a place in our religious memories, so that their lives might inspire and teach that service involves sacrifice” (1983 Report of Bishop Gracida to the Florida bishops)
In July 1983, however, Bishop Gracida was transferred to the see of Corpus Christi, Texas. His successor in Pensacola-Tallahassee, Bishop Symons, determined that funds were not available to continue the necessary research and notified the other Florida bishops. Yet, shortly thereafter, with the blessing and direction of Bishop John Ricard, the effort was renewed as a result of local devotion, including a lay effort to understand the history of seventy-eight acres of land on the east side of Tallahassee (now being held in hopes funding will allow it to become the future site of the Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Martyrs, located approximately a mile from the land Bishop Gracida purchased to build a shrine in memory of the martyrs).
Bishop Gannon’s efforts, it should be said, were anticipated and made possible by testimonies from those close to the events themselves. This is true for the Franciscan and Indian martyrs of northern Florida. King Philip V of Spain was so moved by the martyrdoms of the Apalachee Indians of the Mission of La Concepción de Ayubale (Tallahassee) that in August of 1704 he notified Pope Clement XI (r. 1700– 1721) that the Indians “gave their lives in the name of Jesus Christ Our Redeemer, imitating the glorious martyrs of the church, and may their names and veneration be wor-thy in time.” The Spanish Ambassador in Rome, the IV Duke of Uceda, responded that His Holiness the Pope “heard with great pain such a sad event and (yet) with consolation to see the determination with which they sacrificed their lives for the Faith.” Directed by the Pope, the Franciscans took sworn testimony about the martyrdoms of Franciscans and native Indians. Archival research has brought to light this as well as other rich testimonies. Finally, in 1743, King Philip V, “keeper of the Patronage of the Holy Catholic Church in my Kingdoms of the Indies, by virtue of the ius patronatus that was conferred on me through the successively issued Papal Bulls, to wit, Inter caetera, Eximiae devo-tionis, Ullius fulcite praesidio, and Universalis Ecclesiae, all of them set and confirmed by His Holiness Pope Julius II, of happy memory, and for all my dominions overseas,” established October 3rd as the day to commemorate yearly the martyrs of La Florida. King Ferdinand VI, succeeding Philip V, ordered the continued celebration of these holy martyrs.
We will continue next week with The Cause for Beatification Source: Martyrs - Martyrs of La Florida Missions - Tallahassee,