At the foot of a beautifully adorned statue of Our Lady, stood three reliquaries, during Pope Francis’ . They housed the relics of our martyred Polish confreres, Bl. Michał Tomaszek, OFM Conv. & Bl. Zbigniew Strzałkowski, OFM Conv. (martyred on August 9, 1991) and of the Italian Missionary Bl. Alessandro Dordi (martyred on August 25, 1991). These three missionaries, known as the Blessed Three Martyrs of Chimbote, were beatified together on December 5, 2015, by His Eminence, Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B.. Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Read More
Pictured here alongside the reliquaries, is Friar Rafael Dryjanski, OFM Conv., the current Guardian and Parish Priest in Pariacoto.
Pariacoto is the town in the Peruvian Andes where the terrorist guerrillas of the ‘Shining Path’ murdered Bl. Michał and Bl. Zbigniew claiming: distributing food received from imperialists was humiliating for the people, religion was the opiate of the people, and preaching peace & works of charity were tools to restrain the people from revolutionary uprising. These martyrs are buried at the parish church at Pariacoto, now served by Friar Rafael.
In August 1991, the guerrillas increased violence against the Catholic Church and publicly threatened to kill a priest of the diocese of Chimbote, each week. The first priest escaped from an instant execution, but on August 9, 1991 the two Polish Francisan Friars Conventual, Bl. Michał and Bl. Zbigniew, were taken out of the church at the end of the Eucharistic celebration and shot, along with the mayor.
On August 25, 1991 it was Bl. Alessandro (aka “Don Sandro”) who was ambushed after returning from a Eucharistic and Baptismal celebration in a distant chapel. Bl. Alejandro was shot getting out of his car. The three priests were the first beatified martyrs of Peru, and Friars Michał and Zbigniew were the first beatified Polish missionary-martyrs. The sacrifice of the three missionaries brought a greater awareness to the importance of Christian witness, even unto death.