VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 3, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Pere Tarres i Claret was a doctor, a priest, an apostle, a formator of youth and he will be beatified this Sunday by John Paul II in Loreto.
As a young student and doctor, the future blessed already walked “on the paths of holiness.” As a priest, “he dedicated himself to intense pastoral activity” and, in particular, to the “formation of the youth of Catholic Action,” highlighted Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, in his decree last June that opened the doors to the imminent beatification.
An ecclesiastical adviser of Catholic Action, Pere Tarres i Claret was “a great educator, say those who knew him: he knew how to teach to love,” acknowledged Italian Catholic Action.
A native of the city of Manresa, near Barcelona, Spain, Father Claret was born on May 30, 1905. He studied at the faculty of medicine of the University of Barcelona. While living in this city, he frequented St. Philip Neri’s Oratory.
He was a member, with great apostolic zeal, of the Catalonian Federation of Christian Youth. Both in the federation as well as in Catholic Action he worked in several posts simultaneously. He made a vow of chastity at 22 with the approval of his spiritual director.
In 1928, after completing medical school, he established himself definitively in Barcelona. Together with his friend, Dr. Gerardo Manresa, he founded the sanatorium-clinic of Our Lady of Mercy in that city.
During the disturbing period of the Spanish Civil War, as a refugee in Barcelona, he secretly took communion to the persecuted. He also acted as a field doctor, heroically looking after numerous wounded, and did not miss an occasion to manifest his faith.
He returned home from the front in 1939, and entered the Seminary of Barcelona that same year. He was ordained a priest on May 30, 1942.
The future blessed was entrusted with many pastoral activities in his short eight years as a priest. Among the offices he held were that of diocesan vice-assistant of Catholic Action youth in Barcelona and assistant of the association’s center for women and youth in the parish of St. Vincent of Sarria.
In 1945 he wrote in his diary that he felt “submerged in the ocean of the apostolate, as he had dreamed about for so long, with the same fire and enthusiasm that he felt as a lay person for the federation” of Christian Youth.
After three months of a painful illness, Pere Tarres i Claret died at 45 in the clinic he had founded on Aug. 31, 1950.
In addition to Father Claret, John Paul II will beatify on Sunday two other outstanding figures of Catholic Action: young lay Italians Pina Suriano (1915-1950), and Alberto Marvelli (1918-1946).