St. John The Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Newark NJ

Bl. Pedro Romero Espejo (1871-1938)

Fr. Pedro Romero Espejo was born in Pancorbo (Burgos) April 28, 1871.He entered the Redemptorist school at El Espino and was eventually professed on September 24, 1889.

He was ordaned on February 29, 1896. He was an extremely shy person and not given to outgoing missionary activity. So he devoted his life to the ministry of reconciliation, and to a religious life of meditation, prayer and mortification, witnessing a great spirit of poverty to others.

After being in the communities of Astorga (León) and Madrid, he was transferred Cuenca. With the outbreak of the civil war, he was forced to leave the community and to live, as was the case for the other colleagues, wtih a local family in their private home. To escape the attention of the persecutors and continue to engage in the apostolate, he chose to go begging in the streets of the city.

Detained several times by the militia, ultimately, in May 1938 he was arrested and taken to prison, where, physically and spiritually ministered to by other priests being held prisoner, he died of dysentery on May 29th.

On October 13, 2013 the town of Tarragona, Spain, witnessed the beatification of six Spanish Redemptorist martyrs: Rev. José Javier Gorosterrazu and five of his confreres. December 20, 2013 Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree about their martyrdom. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the congregation in matters of saints and a delegate of Pope Francis, led a celebration of the beatification of this large group of over 500 martyrs.

These 6 new blessed belonged to the same community of the Redemptorist Fathers in Quenca, which was marked by heroic courage and apostolic zeal, even to the point of sacrificing their lives in difficult times that were marked by illusions of the omnipotence of great totalitarian systems. These new martyrs became an icon of this religious order which is united around Christ the Redeemer and passionately preaches the Gospel, in other words, is a true Redemptorist community, which is committed to Redemption. Following the example of the first Christian martyrs these six Redemptorists showed their persecutors and all the disciples of Christ the clear evidence of complete commitment to God and the Church. Their evangelicalmeekness is a quiet but effective defense against violence and harassment and a clear example of consistency and faithfulness to the end. In this Year of Faith these Spanish martyrs become an example of holiness and desire for life to all Redemptorists in a total commitment to God and the missionary work of the Congregation.

November 6th was designated as a day of their Liturgical remembrance.

A prayer:

God, our Father, through the cross and through self-sacrifice, you included the blessed José Javier and his confreres (Ciriaco, Miguel, Julian, Victoriano and Pedro) in the mystery of the Great Redemption of Your Son and through their martyrdom made them your faithful witnesses. We ask that through Your intercession we be brave in our profession of faith and generous with our love. Amen.