Holy Father praises model provided by newly beatified Spaniard
Blessed Jose Samso i Elias
Blessed Jose Samso i Elias

.- After the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI brought attention to the recently beatified Blessed Jose Samso i Elias.  On Saturday, the martyred Spanish priest became the first person ever to be beatified in the Archdiocese of Barcelona.

He was "a true witness of Christ, (who) died forgiving his persecutors," said the Pope of the man.  "For priests, especially for parish priests, he constitutes a model of dedication to catechesis and charity to the poor."

According to the archdiocese, the priest, known by the Archbishop of Barcelona in the 1920's as "the premier catechist in the diocese," was famous also for his charity and very active and successful in pursuing new vocations as a spiritual director.

He was killed by a firing squad in the cemetery of Mataró, Spain for being a priest.  Before he was shot, he attempted to embrace his executioners and forgave them for actions "as Christ forgave those who nailed him to the cross."

The ceremony on Saturday was presided by Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, who was accompanied by the prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato, nearly two dozen bishops and the papal nuncio to Spain.

During the celebration, Cardinal Martinez Sistach expressed his wish that the influence of the martyred priest extend to contemporary Spain, saying that with his "exemplary priestly life and with his witness of forgiveness and reconciliation of his death he offers a very positive and very necessary contribution so that our society may advance for paths of forgiveness and reconciliation and achieve a present and a future based the authentic values of spirituality, fraternity, justice and peace."

In the language-specific greetings at the end of the Angelus on Sunday, the Holy Father also recognized Blessed Fr. Samso i Elias in Spanish for his charity and apostolic zeal.  He then added in Catalan, "May the newly Beatified Josep Samso i Elias bless you and protect you!”

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