November 26th is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Monsignor Joseph Wittebols, SCJ – the Bishop of diocese of Wamba – together with six other missionaries in Congo in 1964.
Twenty-eight religious altogether gave their lives in 1964, during the Simba revolution. Their deaths occurred during the month of November from the 3rd to the 27th.
There many more SCJs who died as martyrs:
- Bl. Juan dela Cruz in Spain,
- 5 SCJs who died during World War II (one German, two from Luxembourg, a Belgian, and an Italian),
- 11 Dutchmen who died in concentration camps in Indonesia,
- 3 French missionaries who died in Cameroon in 1959
- and another Dutch missionary from the North Brazilian Province who died in 1975 as a result of his protective assistance to poor fishermen in Northeast Brazil.
Their deaths were the consequence of a life choice made much earlier …
They are our inspiration and a source of strength for our vocation and mission.
For this reason, in a session of the General Council held on May 11th, 2004, an SCJ MEMORIAL DAY was decreed to be celebrated every year on the 26th of November, anniversary of the death of Bp. Wittebols, SCJ.
“This date should be opportunely prepared for and celebrated in all communities, especially in formation communities, and with lay people who share our pastoral, educational, and missionary activities.
Let the celebration of this day become an occasion to learn about and remember those persons who have impacted the history of a province / region / district and the Congregation, or a particular work or section of our mission”.
Fr. José Ornelas Carvalho, scj
God our loving Father, we praise you!
We thank for all our SCJ brothers who died as martyrs, for their faith and dedication.
Through their intercession, enable us by Holy Spirit of Love, to live and die for you and your beloved people, hoping that we may be transformed day by day into the likeness of your Son Jesus.
Lord God, may the witness of our SCJ brothers, who died as martyrs, strengthen our faith.
May their martyrdom be the seed for our growth in holiness. Give us the power of your spirit to promote understanding and reconciliation, that all may live justly and in peace as brothers and sisters of Jesus, your Son.