Looking through the Roman Martyrology (pictured above), which is a lengthy Church liturgical calendar, we usually have a light dusting of English martyrs across the year, but on some days the Elizabethan government outdid itself for a calendar day in its blood-lust for the rather intrepid Catholic priests who kept trying to enter these countries to minister to the several Catholics living their faith in hiding. We shouldn’t ignore the witness of these men and women, who stood up to the government and died for the Church. There are often laymen listed, such as Blessed John Finch, below.
Let’s list, as an exercise, every one of the martyrs for today. Here are translations of the martyrology entries, almost a whole page in the book. I shall link the names to other information I can find online:
At Lancaster in England, Blessed James Bell and Blessed John Finch, martyrs, the first of whom a priest, after twenty years belonging to another confession (read, the ‘New Religion’ of Anglicanism), having been reconciled at the encouragement of a certain woman with the Catholic Church, the second a family-man, farmer and catechist, persevering in the Faith after many years in prison, starved and tortured; the both at the same time and under Queen Elizabeth I arrived at eternal joy.Roman Martyrology, April the 20th
At London in England, Blessed Richard Sargeant and Blessed William Thomson, priests and martyrs, who condemned to death for entering England as priests and daring to remain, suffered torture and death at Tyburn.Roman Martyrology, April the 20th
At Clona in Ireland, Blessed Mauritius MacKenraghty, priest and martyr, who having spent two years in prison and yet did not wish to recognise the supremacy of Queen Elizabeth I, was handed over to the tortures of the scaffold.Roman Martyrology, April the 20th
At York in England, Blessed Anthony Page, priest and martyr, who being a mild and honest man, was condemned to torture (and death) on account of his priesthood.Roman Martyrology, April the 20th
At London in England, Blessed Francis Page of the Society of Jesus, and Blessed Robert Watkinson, priests and martyrs, who at the same time under Queen Elizabeth I were made to ascend the scaffold at Tyburn on account of their priesthood, Francis having only been entered into the Society one month (in prison).Roman Martyrology, April the 20th