Rome (Agenzia Fides) – Every year since 1993 the "Day of Prayer and Fasting in Memory of Missionary Martyrs is celebrated on 24 March, thanks to the initiative of the Youth Missionary Movement of the Italian Pontifical Mission Societies". On March 24, 1980 Mgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador was assassinated, he was beatified on May 23, 2015, and on this annual day of prayer and fasting we remember how many in the world shed their blood for the Gospel. This year's celebration coincides with Holy Thursday, so the community can also celebrate it on another date which is considered more suitable.
The Day is now celebrated in different Countries around the world, promoted by dioceses, religious institutions and missionary realities.
In the special Jubilee of mercy that we are living, the Day 2016 has the theme "Women and men of mercy". As Father Michael Antuoro, Director of Missio Italy writes, "they are the ones who 'lived the richness of Jesus' mission that resonates in the words of the Prophet: to bring a word and gesture of consolation to the poor, to proclaim liberty to those bound by new forms of slavery in modern society, to restore sight to those who can see no more because they are caught up in themselves, to restore dignity to all those from whom it has been robbed' (Misericordiae Vultus). Jesus is the merciful face of the Father, in Him the faces of Fr. Andrea Santoro, Mgr. Oscar Romero, Fr. Sandro Dordi ... .. and many who, like pieces of a mosaic, make up and reveal the icon of a father who is rich of mercy".
The material aid prepared for the animation of the Day, downloadable from Missio Italy site, includes a theological reflection on the theme, the profiles of the four missionaries killed and the list of missionaries killed in 2015. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 23/03/2016)