We are a Church of Martyrs. As the saying goes, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” From the death of Christ, on the Cross, and Stephen, the first martyr, to today, blood has been shed by those who follow Christ. We do not follow a bloodless faith.
The Vatican’s Fides agency has issued a list of all those involved in pastoral work who were killed during 2009. The list reveals where the Church’s modern “martyrs” have died for the practice of their faith. The Church no longer refers to the group as a “list of martyrs,” since the circumstances of death in many cases is unknown. Instead, they are listed as those involved in pastoral or missionary work who died violently.
Of the 37 who died in 2009, Central and South America appear to be the most dangerous places for the Catholic faith, with a total of 19 deaths. Both Colombia and Brazil had six deaths.
Thirty of those who were killed were priests, 19 of them diocesan. Two were seminarians, both of whom were killed in Mexico. Two were nuns, one a Trappist; the other a Sister of the Blessed Sacrament, who was killed in the U.S. in the state of New Mexico. Three of the total were lay people.
After Central and South America, the second most dangerous place for missionaries was Africa, with a total of 11 deaths, followed by Asia, with a death in the Philippines, and another in India. Three were from the U.S.
Here’s the list by country:
South Africa 4
Central and South America
El Salvador 2
United States 2
For more information on the individuals, visit here.