MASS OF BEATIFICATION
HOMILY OF CARDINAL JOSÉ SARAIVA MARTINS
Municipal Exhibition Park, Frederico Westphalen,
Dearest Brothers and Sisters,
The recommendation we heard today in St Paul's Letter to Timothy resounds in our hearts because of the determination with which our two new Blesseds: Emmanuel Gómez González, a priest and martyr, and Adílio Daronch, a young alter server who was also a martyr, observed it throughout their lives.
In these Blesseds, Paul's words: "Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (II Tm 3: 14), were magnificently fulfilled and marvellously achieved in the witnesses borne by both. Despite the differences in their age and role, they were united in the palm of martyrdom and the victory of the Cross of Christ!
The Holy Father Benedict XVI rightly reminds us that: "The Saint is the person who is so fascinated by the beauty of God and by his perfect truth as to be progressively transformed by it. Because of this beauty and truth, he is ready to renounce everything, even himself. Love of God is enough for him, experienced in humble and disinterested service to one's neighbour, especially towards those who cannot give back in return" (Homily, Concluding Synod Mass, 23 October 2005; L'Osservatore Romano English edition [ORE], 26 October, p. 16).
For the beauty and truth of Christ and his Gospel, the two new Blesseds truly gave up everything, even their lives.
Emmanuel Gómez González was born on 29 May 1877 near Tuy-Pontevedra, Spain, to José and Josefina González. Having completed his studies, he received priestly ordination in the Country of his birth on 24 May 1902 and began to exercise the priestly ministry in his Diocese.
Beginning in 1904, he was received at his request by the neighbouring Diocese of Braga, Portugal, becoming parish priest of Valdevez, and then in 1911, of Monção. In 1913, when political and religious problems set in, he was given leave to sail for Brazil.
Here, after a short stay in Rio de Janeiro, Bishop Miguel de Lima Valverde welcomed him to his Diocese of Santa Maria (Rio Grande do Sul). He served briefly as parish priest of Saudade until, on 7 December 1915, he was entrusted with the vast Parish of Nonoai, virtually equivalent to a small diocese. Here, he was so assiduous in his pastoral work that in eight years he changed the face of the parish, and also cared for the Indios.
In addition, he was regularly requested to look after the neighbouring Parish of Palmeiras das Missões as administrator. It was here, in this second parish entrusted to him, that he was soon to suffer martyrdom.
Adílio Daronch was born on 25 October 1908 near Dona Francisca in the region of Cachoeira do Sul (Rio Grande do Sul), Brazil. His parents, Pedro Daronch and Judite Segabinazzi, had eight children.
In 1911 the family moved to Passo Fundo and in 1913 to Nonoai. Adílio belonged to the group of adolescents who would accompany Fr Manuel on his long and tiring pastoral journeys, including those to the Kaingang Indios.
A faithful altar server, Adílio was also a student at the school the missionary had founded.
Fr Emmanuel celebrated Holy Week in the Parish of Nonoai, then set out on the journey accompanied by young Adílio, oblivious to the dangers of a region involved in the revolutionary movements.
He stopped first in Palmeiras: here he administered the sacraments and did not neglect to exhort the local revolutionaries to make peace, at least in the name of the common Christian Faith.
They then continued their way to Braga and on to the Military Colony of the area, where Fr Emmanuel celebrated Holy Mass for the last time on 20 May 1924.
The local faithful warned the priest of the danger he would incur by entering the forest, but he did not listen to them, burning with the desire to bring them divine grace.
The priest and the teenager arrived at a trading centre seeking information on how to reach the Três Passos colonists and met some soldiers who kindly offered to accompany them. In fact, this was a specially organized ambush.
Fr Emmanuel and Adílio, his faithful acolyte then barely 16 years old, were led to a remote part of the forest where military chiefs were waiting for them.
On reaching a plateau, the two companions in martyrdom were bound to two trees and shot; so it was that they died for hatred of the Christian Faith and of the Catholic Church. It was 21 May 1924.
It is wonderful to see again in these events the same freshness, the same vigour, the same marvellous power as in the "Passions" of the early Christian Martyrs!
We seem to see once again the holy Pontiff Sixtus II in the snare set for him at the cemetery of Callistus while he was teaching the Divine Word; from there he was led to his martyrdom, but without being abandoned by his faithful escort of deacons who desired to share his destiny and glory!
We could also apply to Fr Emmanuel St Cyprian's words describing Sixtus: "a good and peaceful priest", and see in his altar server, Adílio, the glory of Tarcisius, a martyr of the Eucharist: the former for carrying it to his brethren and the latter for his service in offering it for the Divine Majesty!
In this way, the Church does not forget the heroic testimony of the priest and his acolyte who died for love of the Gospel, and the numerous faithful who hastened to their graves to invoke the Lord's help through their intercession.
Thus, today, the Church does not fail to recognize the triumph of the parish priest and his acolyte and pays them a tribute of glory, recognizing their powerful intercession and imploring their help from Heaven to follow their example!
The celebration of the Eucharist, at the heart of the lives of Bl. Emmanuel and Bl. Adílio, shines out in their witness with the power and fascination of the Incarnate Mystery: so that the Word of God may ring out in the world, so that the Mysteries of Salvation may be fulfilled, so that the Sacrifice of the Cross may be renewed upon the altar, so that communion with the Divine Mysteries may be celebrated in the offering of one's own life and that people may reach salvation.
For this reason, they defied the dangers and disregarded the threats, offering their holocaust together, so that their final communion might shine aloft like a light in human darkness held hostage by hatred and violence, fratricidal struggles and assassination that sow in hearts the extreme poison of their own and others' ruin and damnation!
Today, in the Second Reading we have just heard, St Paul says to his apostle, Timothy: "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching" (II Tm 4: 1-2).
We must consider ourselves fortunate, dear brothers and sisters, because today we have been granted a special grace: that of understanding how alive the Word of God is, for today we have seen these words fulfilled in our Blesseds!
We have seen a pastor and a boy valuing their own lives exclusively in relation to God and to the eternal salvation of their brethren; we have seen them viewing as gain the loss of their lives in order to win the Kingdom of God; we have seen this Kingdom beginning here on earth when God visits the afflicted, consoles the troubled and returns to offer himself for sinners; we have heard the Word of God proclaimed in the heart of the forest with faithfulness and perseverance.
We have heard the priest's voice, praying, correcting and exhorting full of unfailing patience in teaching, so that peace may return to hearts and sinners be converted; and today we have also seen a young man holding up the father's hands as once happened for Moses, so that the battle might be sustained until it was won and the grace implored from Heaven to offer one's own service!
Today, if the Son of Man were to return in accordance with his promise, he would find the torches of faith still burning on earth; he would find this Church of Brazil alive and resplendent, nourished by the blood of two of its Martyrs, and meet the ardent, sure witness of Bl. Emmanuel Gómez and Bl. Adílio Daronch.
He would still find faith on earth in our hearts, because today, although they are weak and frail due to wretchedness and their sins, they have been reinforced in the memory of these Holy Martyrs and have found encouragement in their strength: faith in Christ the Lord, the One Saviour and Redeemer of man as we affirm and profess it today in this Communion of Saints, which unites us in the one Creed and is an incentive to us to bear the same witness.
As Benedict XVI has stressed: "The Lord does not close his eyes to the needs of his children, and if he seems at times insensitive to their requests, it is only in order to test them and to temper their faith. This is the witness of Saints, this is especially the witness of Martyrs, closely associated with the redeeming sacrifice of Christ" (Angelus Reflection, 14 August 2005; ORE, 24 August, p. 17), as the example of our two new Blesseds has effectively shown.
Bl. Emmanuel and Bl. Adílio, grant us your help, which we also recognize today as powerful, and offer us from Heaven your intercession at the throne of the Most High. May he turn his gaze upon our wretchedness and our needs, our conflicts and the hatred that devastates the human heart, oppresses the weak and stifles his grace!
May the Prince of Peace sustain the battle of his Church and descend among our ranks so that his Word may be triumphant, and may the Blessed Martyrs Emmanuel and Adílio intercede for us so that one day we may with them sing praise to the Lord, where Christ reigns in glory among the heavenly hosts!
The power and the glory are his, now and for ever. Amen!