Nagasaki, Japan, Nov 23, 2019 / 19:55 pm
Pope Francis Sunday honored the many martyrs who died in Japan during two centuries of persecution, encouraging Catholics in the country to use their heroic witness as inspiration to spread the Gospel.
"May we never forget their heroic sacrifice!" he said Nov. 24, speaking of the hundreds of martyrs who "consecrated the ground by their suffering and death."
"May it not remain as a glorious relic of the past, to be kept and honored in a museum, but rather as a living memory, an inspiration for the works of the apostolate and a spur to renewed evangelization in this land."
The pope spoke at the memorial of Nishizaka Hill in Nagasaki, where hundreds of Christians from the end of the 16th through the 18th century lost their lives for the faith, including St. Paul Miki and his 25 companions, who were crucified on the hill in 1597.