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You probably know Nagasaki, Japan. Hundreds of thousands died there when the atomic bomb was dropped on it during World War II. A long time before, about three and a half centries, twenty-six Christians died in Nagasaki. On a hill, now known as the Holy Mountain, priests, brothers, catechists, doctors, common people, old men, and even children were crucified in cold blood.

Paul Miki was a Jesuit and nation of Japan. He is best known of all martyrs. Even while awaiting his slow and inevitable death, he preached. He proceeded to tell the people who were watching the gruesome event of the many wonderful things that have to do with Christ.

"The sentence of judgement says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you to become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ`s example I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain."

Many believed that this was the end of Christianity in Japan. After all, the people had seen what happened. When missionaries returned in the 1860`s, they at first didn`t find any sign of it. Only after they had made a home for themselves did they find some Christians. They found thousands of Christians around Nagasaki. These people had secretly held faith. Beatified in 1627, the martyrs of Japan were finally canonized in 1862.

Today, there are still Catholics in Japan. Much more than were at the time of the return of the missionaries. Also, the Church is now respected and has been given freedom. The spread of Christ in the Far East has been slow and painful. The faith and zeal of the 26 brave martyrs of Japan is needed still now as it was back then.


We ask you, Martyrs of Japan, to please help us to have courage. You stood up for your faith. You didn`t give in. You laid down your life for Christ. Help us to have the same courage in everything we do. Also, help us to make the right decisions as you did. Thank you for listening.