Hebrews 11:33-40; Psalm 15(16):1-2,5,7-11; John 12:24-26
It might surprise you to know there are at least 20 Beatified Martyrs of our Diocese. The great majority of them were martyred in the C16 and C17 - the reformation years in which Catholicism was brutally supressed in England. The most local are William Lampley, who was born in Gloucester. He was executed for the crime of 'persuading his kin to popery' and our local Parish of Sacred Hearts has a meeting room named for him. Like many, Richard Sergeant (who was also born in Gloucester) had his priestly formation by Douai Abbey (France) and worked on the mission to our area for three years before being caught and executed. We have only one woman martyr, although I am sure many more suffered for their faith - seeing priest-sons executed, mistreated in (or out of) marriage, denied the opportunity to raise children in the faith. Margaret Pole was an exception - as Countess of Salisbury she must have had influence, and amongst other achievements she was the mother of Cardinal Reginald Pole, the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury. She was executed in the Tower of London.
We owe much to these women and men, and today pray for them at Mass.