+ Mario Vergara was born in Frattamaggiore, Italy, and was a priest of the Pontificial Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME).
+ After being assigned to his community’s missions in Myanmar, he was assisted by a young catechist, Isidore Ngei Ko Lat, who had been born in the village of Ahtet Tawpin.
+ Although Father Vergara’s work was interrupted by the Second World War (including his being held in a British concentration camp in India), he and Isidore continued their work in rural villages.
+ After Myanmar gained its independence in 1948, the two missionaries received death threats and were murdered by guerilla soldiers on May 24, 1950. They were beatified in 2014.
For prayer and reflection
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.—Matthew 5:10
On this day we also remember Saint Joanna “the Myrrh-bearer.” Mentioned by name in the Gospel of Luke, she was described as the wife of Chusa, a steward of King Herod Antipas, and as having supported Jesus’ mission from her own resources (see 8:3). Saint Luke also records that she was one of the women to discover the empty tomb on that first Easter.
We humbly beseech the mercy of your majesty, almighty and merciful God, that, as you have poured the knowledge of your Only Begotten Son into the hearts of the peoples by the preaching of the blessed Martyrs Mario and Isidore, so, through their intercession, we may be made steadfast in the faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For Missionary-Martyrs)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.