Commemoration of Saint Ibaraki and Saint Anthony and the Martyrs of Japan (1597)

After decades of the successful spread of the Gospel in Japan that began with the mission of Francis Xavier in 1549, the warlords of Japan grew suspicious of foreign influence and expelled Christian missionaries and began an intense persecution of Christians in an attempt to expel the faith from their realms. One famous instance of intense persecution culminated with a forced march to Nagasaki. Twenty six Christians had their noses and ears mutilated and were ridiculed all along the journey until they reached a hill where they were to be crucified. Among the group were two young boys, Ibaraki, age 12, and Anthony, age 13. When they arrived at the location for their execution, the group found a row of crosses awaiting them. One of the boys said, “Show me my cross,” and the other echoed, “show me mine.”

May God grant that we never face their fate but fill us with the heart to say daily, “Show me my cross.”

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