It was considered an act of treason to function as a Catholic Priest in England in the 15th to the 17th centuries.
Catholic Priests were trained overseas.
Most were trained at Douai College in France.
The penalty if caught practicing as a Catholic Priest in England was the barbaric and cruel punishment of hanging, drawing, and quartering.
Over 160 Douai-trained Priests were martyred in England during this time.
Each time the news of another execution reached Douai a solemn Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated at the college.
Today is the collective feast of these Martyrs.
These men died because they believed that the Catholic Church has this continuous link with the Apostolic Church with a God-given authority. They accepted the God-given Ministry of the Pope as the successor of St Peter.
Ecumenism is a good thing. The followers of Christ need to work together and love each other.
However, we need to remain true to conscience and to our beliefs.
So many of these Martyrs were offered freedom if they denied the Faith of the Catholic Church.
It is important that we be knowledgeable about our Faith as adults. It is very important to keep on understanding our Faith and why believe what we believe.
We are certainly not called to be zealots, but we are called to be Faithful.
Faithful not just when it is comfortable but with the Grace of God always.
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