Two Colombian martyrs are examples of the nation’s desire to overcome divisions and violence, Pope Francis said in their beatification on September 8, 2017 during an outdoor Mass at Villavicencio, Colombia.
The Pope cited the text that begins and ends the Gospel of Matthew: “I will be with you always, to the close of the age.”
“This promise is fulfilled also in Colombia: Monsignor Jesús Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve, Bishop of Arauca, and the martyred priest of Armero, Pedro María Ramírez Ramos,” the Holy Father declared. “They are a sign of this, an expression of a people who wish to rise up out of the swamp of violence and bitterness.”
Bishop Jaramillo was assassinated in 1989 in midst of drug wars and political conflict. Father Pedro María Ramírez Ramos was killed during the Colombian civil war in 1948.
Tens of thousands attending the Mass cheered the Pope’s declaration of beautification of two Catholic figures long recognized in Colombia for their bravery and fidelity to the Church.
At the close of their 103rd Plenary Assembly in July, the Bishops of Colombia expressed their joy at the impending beatifications, stating: “We elevate our thanksgiving and glorify God because He gives the Church in Colombia these fruits of holiness and testimony of their life, faithful to the Gospel, in very difficult moments of the history of our country.
“They put in the first place the love of God and of brothers and pastoral zeal for the people the Lord entrusted to them, to the point of giving their life. They have become models of the following of Christ in all moments and circumstances, also when evil, hatred and violence must be overcome by the strength of goodness.”
The Vatican agency Fides published biographical information about both of the new Blesseds.
Jesús Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve was born on February 14, 1916 in Santo Domingo (Colombia). He was ordained a priest on September 1, 1940. On November 11, 1970, he was appointed Apostolic Vicar of Arauca. On July 19, 1984, Pope John Paul II elevated the Vicariate to Diocese. Jesús Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve was the first Bishop.
The Episcopal Conference of Colombia announced his tragic death with these words: “Bishop Jesús Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve carried out exemplary service for 18 years and with the true missionary heart of the Javerianos Fathers community and with generous solicitude to the particular Church of Arauca. With his word inflamed by the love of Christ, he was always at the service of the Gospel, peace, reconciliation, coexistence and the defense of the sacred rights of the human person … In this blood, we see the hard price paid by the Church. The violent, those who trample on life and, with the mind blurred by hatred and insensitivity, sow death, tragedy and bitterness, will not prevail. The good, the love of Christ, will triumph over the forces of evil”.
Pedro María Ramírez Ramos was born on 23 October 1899 in La Plata, Huila. In the following years he worked as a director and secretary of the parish chorus, and he dedicated his time to teaching, without neglecting parish life. He was ordained a priest on June 21, 1931. He carried out his pastoral ministry as deputy parish priest and parish priest in four parishes: the last one was in Armero, where he arrived in 1946 and where he suffered martyrdom.