Photo: Martyrs of Peru
Today, August 9, 2011, marks the 20th anniversary of the martyrs of Peru killings. Twenty years ago on this date Fr. Michal Tomaszek and Fr. Zbigniew Strzalkowski, Franciscan friars were killed by “Sendero Luminoso”- The Shining Path terrorist organization.
The two missionaries worked in the Andes, in Peru and devoted themselves to the difficult task of taking care of the parish of Pariacoto, besides working in several villages. Wherever the two men worked they left the memory of their “Franciscan brand”: humility, poverty, kindness, ability to compromise for the good, the tenacity of community life.
On August 9, 1991 a commando of twenty guerrillas, who were part of the revolutionary organization Sendero Luminoso, entered the village, raided the monastery and kidnapped Fr. Michal and Fr. Zbigniew. Soon after, after a brief trial, the two missionaries were killed in the countryside nearby, the place that they themselves called “San Damiano”, where they often went to pray.
On June 5, 1995, on the fourth anniversary of their death, a year before the period required by the current legislation (five years after the death of a Servant of God) the process of beatification began.
The place of their martyrdom and their grave has become a pilgrimage destination in Peru.