A delegation of Order of Carmelites priests from the Philippines on May 11 left for Rome to attend the canonization of Dutch Carmelite martyr, Titus Brandsma, scheduled on May 15 at the Vatican.
Representing the Order of Carmelites Philippine Province includes Prior Provincial Father Rico Ponce, Carmelite Mission, and Development Office director Father Chris Labrador, and Mount Carmel College presidents Father Fernando Lopez (Escalante) and Father Marvin Diongzon (Agusan).
The Order of Carmelites Philippine Province is under the titular patronage of St. Titus Brandsma.
The Philippine delegation will later be joined by Father Billy Bong M. Manguiat, before the San Alberto Community in Cebu, central Philippines.
“We have much to learn and to imitate from St. Titus Brandsma, who defended Truth and Press Freedom until his dying breath," says the Prior Provincial Father Ponce.
"It is a great consolation for us to have someone from a not-so-distant generation praying and interceding for us in our current struggles, and who knows how it is to be persecuted for defending his beliefs in the light of his faith,” he added.
Blessed Titus Brandsma is the patron saint of the Philippine Province of the Order of Carmelites.
Titus was born on February 23, 1881, and became a celebrated priest, philosophy professor, journalist, educator, and orator.
He was known for his anti-Nazi stance, that in 1935 he wrote against anti-Jewish marriage laws, which brought him to the attention of the Nazis. He encouraged Catholic publications not to publish Nazi propaganda. The move ultimately incensed the Nazis, who later on arrested him in January 1942 when Germany invaded the Netherlands.
He was deported to the Dachau concentration camp in Bavaria, Germany where he was overworked, underfed, and beaten daily.
The Nazis told him that he would be allowed to live a quiet life in a monastery if he would announce that Catholic newspapers should publish Nazi propaganda.
Despite the difficulties of the situation, he still managed to encourage prayer in the camp, even requesting fellow prisoners to pray for the salvation of the guards.
In the camp, Titus was used for medical experiments. When he could no longer serve his purpose in the experimentation projects, he was murdered by lethal injection on July 26, 1942. He was 61.
Pope St. John Paul II beatified Titus on November 3, 1985.
On May 15, Pope Francis will canonize Titus Brandsma, Blessed de Foucauld, the Indian martyr Devasahayam Pillai and the five founders of religious orders.
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