These Japanese martyrs died in 1597, in Nagasaki, the first in East Asia to be canonised. St Paul Miki was a Jesuit and his companions numbered twenty five, being first raised on crosses and then stabbed with spears. It is said that the executioners carrying out the killing were amazed at the martyrs’ joy at being so closely united with the death of their Lord.

May they pray for us, and may God bless you this day.