+ Mark was born in Mirditë, Albania. After seminary studies in Albania and Italy, he was ordained a priest on March 21, 1942.
+ Imprisoned and tortured by the Albanian Communist government, he was repeatedly ordered to denounce Christ.
+ Blessed Mark refused and repeatedly answered, “Long live Jesus Christ!” He was subsequently tortured to death in 1947 in Shën Pal, Albania.
+ Blessed Mark Gjoni was beatified with other Albanian martyrs in 2016.
For prayer and reflection
“While the persecutors dissolve like so many black shadows which are lost forever in the darkness of eternal oblivion,” martyrs are guiding lights that shine in the sky of humanity, showing the true face of man’s goodness, his profound identity created in the image of God.”—Cardinal Angelo Amato at the beatification of the Martyrs of Albania
On this day we also remember Blessed Lucia of Verona. A member of the Servite Third Order in Verona, Italy, she lived a life of prayer and service, developing a special ministry of care for the sick and dying. Lucia died in 1574 from plague she had contracted from one of the many victims for whom she had been caring.
Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Mark to overcome the torments of his passion, grant that we, who celebrate the day of his triumph, may remain invincible under your protection against the snares of the enemy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.