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Pope Benedict approves the Decree on the Martyrdom of the Redemptorists of Cuenca, Spain

Photo courtesy of Madrid Province.














Courtesy of Scala:

On Thursday, December 20, Pope Benedict XVI approved the promulgation of the Decree on the martyrdom of the Servants of God José Javier Gorosterratzu and five companions, all martyrs of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists). 

This decree has finally opened the way for the beatification that will be celebrated in Tarragona, Spain on October 27, 2013.

On the same day, the pope also approved the promulgation of the Decree on the life and virtues of Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini), whose cause is being shepherded to fruition by our devoted and hard-working Postulator General, Fr Antonio Marrazzo, C.Ss.R.

Our new blessed, all members of the community of St. Felipe in Cuenca, were martyred during the Spanish Civil War that was fought from July 1936 to April 1939.

The group is made up of five priests and one Brother:

Rev. José Javier Gorosterratzu Jaunarena (1877-1936)
Rev. Ciriaco Olarte y Pérez De Mendiguren (1893-1936)
Rev. Miguel Goñi Ariz (1902-1936)
Rev. Julián Pozo y Ruiz De Samaniego (1920-1936)
Rev. Pedro Romero Espejo (1871-1938)
Brother Víctor (Victoriano) Calvo Lozano (1896-1936)

Brief Biographical Profiles

Father José Javier Gorosterratzu Jaunarena, C.Ss.R., was born in Urroz (Navarra) August 7, 1877. At age 14, against the wishes of his father, he entered the Capuchin College at Lecároz. At age 16 he entered the Redemptorists, made his profession on September 8, 1896 and was ordained a priest on September 28, 1903. After a few years of teaching at El Espino (Burgos) and Astorga (León), he lived in the communities of Pamplona (Navarra), Madrid and Cuenca. He was a man of considerable culture as well as being a popular missionary, an expert confessor and a sought after spiritual director. He published two historical works and wrote a manual of philosophy. On August 10, 1936, he was arrested by the militia of the Popular Front, which took him to the cemetery of Cuenca and shot him during which he forgave his executioners.

Father Ciriaco Olarte Perez, C.Ss.R., was born in Gomecha (Álava) on February 8, 1893 into a very religious family. Encouraged from childhood towards a priestly vocation, he entered Redemptorist formation on September 21, 1904 at El Espino (Burgos) and professed his religious vows on September 8, 1911. After being ordained a priest on July 29, 1917, he went to Mexico as a missionary from 1920 to 1926. He returned to Spain and the growing anti-clerical spirit in the Mexico of that time. From 1926 to 1935, he exercised his apostolic ministry in Madrid, at the community of Perpetual Help. In May 1935 he settled in Cuenca. In the evening of July 31, 1936, he was arrested and taken to the place called "Las Angustias" where, severely wounded, was left to die after long hours of agony.

Father Miguel Goñi Ariz, C.Ss.R., was born in Imarcoain (Navarra) April 27, 1902. Manifesting the desire to become a priest even as a child, he would enter the Redemptorists on September 8, 1918 and professed his vows on August 26, 1920. Despite poor health and a shy nature, he was ordained a priest on September 27, 1925 and proved to be a strong and tireless preacher of popular missions. After serving in the communities of Nava del Rey (Valladolid), Granada, Santander and Vigo, he was transferred in 1932 to Cuenca, where he ministered especially in the Redemptorist Church of St. Phillip Neri. On August 31, 1936 he was arrested by the militia, shot and left to bleed to death. 

Father Julián Pozo y Ruiz De Samaniego, C.Ss.R., was born in Payueta (Álava) January 7, 1903. He entered the Redemptorist seminary of El Espino in 1913, where he was much appreciated for the seriousness of his spiritual journey. He professed vows in 1920 and was ordained a priest on September 27, 1925. Suffering from tuberculosis since 1921, he was able to accept the disease with resignation, devoting himself to prayer, hearing confessions and caring for the sick. Of a serene disposition, he was much sought after for his gifts as a confessor and spiritual director. In 1928 he was transferred to the apostolic community of Cuenca. He then moved to the seminary because of the outbreak of persecution. There, on August 9, 1936 he was arrested while praying the rosary, and was shot along the road that leads from Cuenca to Tragacete.

Father Pedro Romero Espejo, C.Ss.R., was born in Pancorbo (Burgos) April 28, 1871.He entered the Redemptorist school at El Espino and was eventually professed on September 24, 1889. He was ordained on February 29, 1896. He was an extremely shy person and not given to outgoing missionary activity. So he devoted his life to the ministry of reconciliation, and to a religious life of meditation, prayer and mortification, witnessing a great spirit of poverty to others. After being in the communities of Astorga (León) and Madrid, he was transferred Cuenca. With the outbreak of the civil war, he was forced to leave the community and to live, as was the case for the other colleagues, with a local family in their private home. To escape the attention of the persecutors and continue to engage in the apostolate, he chose to go begging in the streets of the city. Detained several times by the militia, ultimately, in May 1938 he was arrested and taken to prison, where, physically and spiritually ministered to by other priests being held prisoner, he died of dysentery on May 29.

Brother Víctor (Victoriano) Calvo Lozano, C.Ss.R., was born in Horche (Guadalajara) December 23, 1896. Distinctly inclined to the spiritual life, he wanted to become a priest. Unfortunately, the times, the reluctance of his family to allow him and financial constraints all mitigated against starting his studies. On March 31, 1919, in a letter he left with his family explaining his reasons, he left them to become a Redemptorist. On November 13, 1920 he made his religious profession, taking the name Victoriano. In 1921 he was assigned to the Redemptorist community in Cuenca, where he worked as a clerk and porter. Although he had not attended school, he had an innate sense of culture, excelling particularly in a deep knowledge of asceticism. His superiors permitted him to be a spiritual director for young women, for whom he wrote a series of retreats and other works. On August 10, he was arrested by the militia, taken to the cemetery of Cuenca, and brutally murdered.

For more information visit the website of the province of Madrid at: