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Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,

On Wednesday, October 19, the Church celebrates the eight North American martyrs, a group of Jesuit priests and laymen who gave their lives between 1642-1649 while evangelizing the native peoples of New England and Canada. One of them was St. Isaac Jogues, who came from a well-to-do French family. Inspired by the early French missionaries to the New World, Fr. Isaac was determined to follow in their footsteps. After a few years serving as a missionary among the Huron, in 1642 he was captured by the Iroquois. He suffered over a year of unimaginable tortures, including having a couple fingers chewed off. Fr. Isaac remarked that “the only sin I can remember during my captivity is that I sometimes looked on the approach of death with complacency.” He was freed by the Dutch, and he returned to Europe hailed as a hero. The Pope even gave him the designation of being a “living martyr.” Incredibly, Fr. Isaac decided to return to the Americas as a missionary, and he was eventually martyred in 1646 by the same Iroquois tribe.

As I reflect on the stories of these first martyrs in our country, I am struck by the wide discrepancy in holiness between them and me. To the same lengths that they went to embrace suffering out of love for Christ and the native peoples, I will go to avoid suffering. I don’t say this in false humility, but only in amazement. The love that the martyrs possessed was evidently supernatural. Even the Iroquois recognized this, as they nicknamed Fr. Isaac “the indomitable one.” I encourage you to read the stories of St. Ignatius of Antioch (feast day, Oct. 17) and the North American martyrs, for in them we catch a glimpse of what can occur when Christ has totally won over a soul for himself. We need to be constantly reminded that there is such a thing as love without measure.

Thank you to Maria Tirado and all those who have helped to prepare this Sunday’s Ministry Fair! Please stop by the parish hall after Sunday Mass to see how you can become more involved in the life of our parish.

Recently we’ve seen a surge in immigrants who are absolutely destitute arriving in our area. Please be generous in your donations to the food pantry and to St. Vincent de Paul as we do our part in serving the impoverished Christ in our midst.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Dave

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