In the year 1597, St Paul Miki, a Japanese Jesuit, and twenty-five companions were martyred in Nagasaki, Japan. They shared the death of their Master, Christ, by being crucified and then stabbed with spears. It is said that their executioners were amazed at the joy of the martyrs as they died.

St Paul Miki said: ‘The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you to become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ’s example I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain’.

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