On 1 April, an Oblate parish in
the city of Cosenza welcomed students from the “Enrico Fermi” Science High
School (Liceo Scientifico) when a large group of students staged a massive
“walk-out” from classes in order to make the traditional “Easter duty” at the
parish. The walk-out was in response to a protest by the local section of the
Union of atheists and rationalist agnostics (Uaar) who claimed that the
religious rite should be denounced as an “interruption of public service” since
it had been scheduled to take place in the school itself during school hours.
The “counter-protest” took place in the church of San Domenico, staffed by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate who also teach catechism in the school. Fr. Carmine MARRONE, the local Oblate superior, said: “We should thank our brethren from the Uaar because they have made us more aware of the treasure which our faith is.”
Therefore, the archdiocese has created a special place in Madrid for remembering these martyrs: in the Church of the Calatravas. On 12 April, Divine Mercy Sunday, there was the dedication of two newly painted icons at altars in the church. One icon depicts St. John Paul II as “the pope of the martyrs of the 20th century,” and the other depicts a number of the martyrs: priests, sisters, other religious and laity. There is also a publication where one finds a map to the burial sites of all the martyrs (Guía “Memoriae martyrum”. Los santos mártires del siglo XX en Madrid, BAC, Madrid 2015)
Among the martyrs pictured, there is Blessed Francisco Esteban LACAL, representing the 22 Oblates of Mary Immaculate martyred in 1936: priests, Brothers and scholastics from Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid). They were beatified on 17 December 2011 in Madrid; their feast day is on 28 November.