Pope Francis will take part in a “Liturgy of the Word,” in memory of the “New Martyrs” of the 20th and 21st centuries, at 5:00 pm tomorrow, April 22, 2017, in Saint Bartholomew’s Basilica, located on the Tiber Island in Rome.
The celebration will take place with Sant’Egidio Community, stated a press release, on April 12, of the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke.
Since 1993, the Roman Basilica, located in the middle of the Tiber, has been entrusted to Sant’Egidio; it has housed a Memorial to the “New Martyrs” of the 20th and 21st centuries since the Jubilee of the Year 2000. It is there that the Commission of “New Martyrs” met, charged by John Paul II to investigate the Christian martyrs of the 20th century. It gathered some 12,000 dossiers of martyrs and witnesses of the faith, sent by the dioceses of the whole world.
After the Jubilee, the Polish Pope wanted a visible trace of this memory kept in the Basilica. In October 2002 a large icon dedicated to the martyrs of the 20th century — with a symbolism drawn from the Book of Revelation — was installed above the main altar. Pope Benedict XVI visited the Basilica on April 7, 2008.
Sant”Egidio’s Internet site gives a list of relics kept in the side chapels of the Basilica, each one of them being dedicated to a Continent or a particular historical situation: relics of “New Martyrs” of Africa — among them a Letter of Frenchman Christian de Cherge, Trappist monk of the Our Lady of the Atlas monastery in Algeria –, of Spain and Mexico, of Nazism, of Communism, of Latin America, including a stole of Father Andre Jarlan, French priest killed in Santiago of Chile on September 4, 1984 while he was reading the Bible and a Missal of Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador – and finally of Asia, Oceania and the Middle East.
The Breviary of French priest Jacques Hamel, murdered on July 26, 2016 in his church at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, on the outskirts of Rouen, while he was celebrating Mass, was also deposited at the Basilica by the Archbishop of Rouen, Monsignor Dominique Lebrun, on September 15.