Monday 28th, St. Irenaeus, bishop and martyr, lived just after the time of the apostles and knew those who had seen and talked with them. He became Bishop of Lyons. The note of moderation, the desire to win people to Christianity by love rather than by fear, was apparent in all of Irenaeus’ work.
Tuesday 29th, Saints Peter and Paul. Apostles. St/Peter and St. Paul are celebrated together as both of them were martyred in Rome. St. Peter was crucified upside down and St. Paul chose to be beheaded.
Wednesday 30th, The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church, in addition to Saints Peter and Paul, died under Nero in the year 64.
Thursday 1st July, St. Oliver Plunkett. Ordained in Rome in 1654, he became a professor of theology from 1654 until appointed Archbishop of Armagh in 1669. He ministered I Armagh, though forced to work in a covert way during the suppression of priests. He was arrested and tried at Dundalk in 1679 for conspiring against the state. It was seen that Oliver would never be convicted in Ireland, and he was moved to Newgate prison, London. He was found guilty of high treason for promoting the Catholic faith and was condemned to a gruesome death. He was hanged, drawn and quartered on 1st July 1681 at Tyburn, in London. He was the last Catholic to die for his faith at Tyburn and the first of the Irish martyrs to be beatified in 1920. He was canonised by Pope Paul V1 on the 12th October 1975. He is buried in Downside Abbey, England; his head is venerated in St. Peter’s Church, Drogheda.
Saturday 3rd, St. Thomas, Apostle, is said to have preached the Gospel in India where he was martyred. The faith that led him to know Christ in his wounds also sent him to the farthest places to preach Christ.
What is notable about this week is that all the saints remembered were martyred for the faith. They risked their lives during times of persecution knowing they faced losing their lives for the faith. Martyrdom is still facing many people today. Let us pray for all those who are persecuted for the faith, may the Lord be with them in their suffering and give them the strength they need.