On May 5, 2015, Pope Francis authorized the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree for the beatification of Italian Oblate, Fr. Mario BORZAGA (1932-1960), and his Laotian catechist, Paul Thoj Xyooj, both martyred in Laos 1960. Hopefully on June 2 of this year, the process of the 15 other Martyrs of Laos will come to the same conclusion. Five of the 15 are Laotians, five are priests from France and members of the Paris Foreign Mission Society,and another five are Oblates from France: Fr. Joseph BOISSEL (1909-1969), Fr. Vincent L’HÉNORET (1921-1961), Fr. Louis LEROY (1923-1961), Fr. Jean WAUTHIER (1926-1967) and Fr. Michel COQUELET (1931-1961). Together with Fr. Borzaga, we hope to have six new Oblate martyrs beatified very soon.
On May 9, 2015, an initial meeting took place at the General House in Rome. The Superior General, Fr. Louis LOUGEN, met with the petitioner of the cause of Mario Borzaga and Paul Thoj Xyooj, the Provincial Superior of the Mediterranean Province, Fr. Alberto GNEMMI, and with its Vice Postulator, Fr. Angelo PELIS. Fr. Roland JACQUES, Vice Postulator for the cause of the 15 other Martyrs, representing its petitioners, the Bishops of Laos, as well as the Oblate Postulator General, Fr. Thomas KLOSTERKAMP, also took part in the meeting. The petitioners for both causes suggested having a single celebration for beatification in the spring of 2016 in Laos or at a place in Europe. Thanksgiving masses in Italy and France might be organized as well. A decision about the time and the place of the beatification will be made by the Holy See, hopefully during the coming summer.
Here, in summary, once again, is the story of each of the Oblate candidates for beatification:
– In 1960, Fr. Mario Borzaga went on an apostolic trip to some villages but he never came back.
– In April and May 1961, Frs. Louis Leroy, Michael Coquelet and Vincent L’Hénoret were snatched from their missions in the Province of Xieng Khouang and savagely put to death.
– Fr. John Wauthier was a tireless apostle of the refugees and stood up for justice on their behalf. In 1967, another faction in Laos ambushed and killed him.
– In 1969, it was the turn of Fr. Joseph Boissel, 60, a veteran of the Laos mission. He was ambushed on his way to an isolated Christian community and executed.
(Thomas Klosterkamp, Oblate Postulator General)