Villavicencio, Colombia, Sep 8, 2017 / 09:39 am
During Mass in Colombia on Friday, Pope Francis beatified two martyrs from the country, both of whom were killed in hatred of the faith within the last 60 years.
Bishop Jesús Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve and Fr. Pedro María Ramírez Ramos were declared “blessed” by the Pope, moving them further ahead on the road to canonization.
The two martyrs, Francis said, are a sign of God's presence in Colombia, as promised at the end of the Gospel of Matthew, where it says: “I will be with you always, to the close of the age.” They are “an expression of a people who wish to rise up out of the swamp of violence and bitterness,” he said.
Bishop Jaramillo, known for his care of the poor, served as bishop of Arauca. He became a target of the National Liberation Army, a Marxist guerrilla group in Colombia, when he spoke out against their kidnappings and involvement in the drug trade. Members of the guerrilla group kidnapped Bishop Jaramillo and killed him on Oct. 2, 1989.
After decades of fighting, the National Liberation Army and the Colombian government arrived at an agreement for a temporary ceasefire earlier this week. It will go into effect Oct. 1.
Born in La Plata in 1899, Fr. Ramirez became priest in 1931. When civil war erupted in Colombia between conservative and liberal groups, he was serving as a pastor in Armero. Local families offered to smuggle him to safety, but the priest refused to abandon his people.
On April 10, 1948, he was dragged out of his church by a group of rebels, who accused him of hiding weapons for conservatives. They lynched him in the town square. He died forgiving his killers.
The Pope spoke about reconciliation to large crowds gathered for an outdoor Mass in the Catama neighborhood of Villavicencio in Colombia.