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A Historic Day for Florida

Bishop Erik Pohlmeier joined his brother bishops for a Mass of Thanksgiving and ceremony for the closing of the diocesan phase of the cause for the canonization of Antonio Inija and his 56 companions. The outdoor Mass was held on Oct. 12, 2023, at the future Shrine of Mary, Queen of Martyrs in Tallahassee. Bishop William Wack, CSC, of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee was the main celebrant of the Mass, which was followed by a closing ceremony as the findings were gathered and will be sent to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints in Rome.

Eight years ago, on Oct. 12, 2015, the cause for beatification was officially opened allowing the appointed Historical Commission to formally begin extensive research on the numerous individuals from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries who are reported to have died for the faith within the land that was once known as La Florida. These investigations have taken members of the Historical Commission to archives in Florida, Georgia, Missouri and Louisiana, as well as Cuba, Mexico, Spain, London and Rome. In keeping with the church’s prudent requirements, the Historical Commission has rigorously examined each and every report of martyrdom.

“I am humbled and thrilled to celebrate the closing of the Diocesan Phase for the Beatification Cause of Antonio Inija and Companions, Martyrs of La Florida. I am grateful to the many people who have worked on this Cause over the last several decades and even centuries. May God be praised,” Bishop Wack said.

“This truly is a historic moment in time. The process of canonization is exceptionally detailed and complicated, and this event brings us one step closer in honoring, celebrating and memorializing those that literally gave their lives for the perpetuation of their faith and Christian beliefs,” stated Chris Stavres, president of the Martyrs of La Florida Missions, Petitioner for the Cause.

The Martyrs of la Florida Missions organization is a 501c3 ministry, whose mission is to honor and spread devotion to the martyrs by promoting their canonization, establishing a shrine and engaging regional, national and international communities for recognition.

To learn more about the Martyrs of Florida visit https://www.martyrsoflafloridamissions.org/.

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