Priest and Martyr (1935-1974)
+ Mikel was born in Beltoj, Albania.
+ Ordained a priest on December 8, 1961, he served in various parishes in the archdiocese of Shkodrë-Pult.
+ When the Communist government closed all the churches in Albania in 1967, Father Mikel began to minister in secret, traveling from village to village and celebrating clandestine Masses when possible.
+ Arrested on April 19, 1973, he was imprisoned for several months and severely tortured before granted a trial. Knowing what the outcome would be, he used the trial as an opportunity to speak out against the Communist regime and its persecution of Christians.
+ Blessed Mikel Beltoja was executed on February 10, 1974, and was beatified with other Albanian martyrs in 2016.
On this day, the Church also remembers Saint Ronan, the eighth century bishop of Lismore, Ireland. Known for his pastoral zeal, he is honored as the patron of numerous Irish churches.
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.”—1 Peter 2:21
Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Mikel 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, one 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.