Agathangel was born in Vendome in 1589 and Cassian
in Nantes in 1607. Both received the habit of the Franciscan Order among the
Capuchins and were sent to the African missions shortly after they had
completed their studies. They met in Cairo. There they learned of the
persecution of the Christians in Abyssinia. Filled with a desire to labor and
suffer for Christ among their separated brethren, they went to that country.
They had scarcely begun their work when they were seized and put in chains.
They languished in prison for the space of a month, and then during another 25
days they were dragged to Gondar amid unheard-of treatment and during the
extreme heat of a July sun. The king intended to force them to renounce their
Father Cassian replied with firm determination: "We
wish to live and die as children of the Catholic, apostolic, and Roman Church,
outside of which there is no salvation. We do not wish to purchase our lives
with the price of infamous apostasy. We do not wish to enjoy honors and
riches, which you offer us at the price of our immortal souls."
Both confessors were then sentenced to he hanged.
When the executioners were looking about for ropes, the two confessors,
inflamed with a desire for martyrdom, called out: "If you need ropes, use our
cords." So it was done. A few moments later the holy missionaries had won the
crown of martyrdom. This happened on August 7, 1638. Pope Pius X beatified
them with great solemnity.
THE ONLY CHURCH IN WHICH THERE IS SALVATION
Because it has been founded by Christ as the institution of salvation, the
Catholic Church is the only one in which we can be saved. Christ always speaks
of only one Church: "On this rock, I will build My Church," "he who will not
hear the Church...", "there will be but one flock and one shepherd..." The
Church would forfeit its own rights where it to recognize any other churches.
The martyrs eloquently proclaimed this truth to the world by laying down their
lives for the Faith and in defense of the only saving Church. -- We too must
have the spirit of the martyrs; we must be ready to act as they did.
Catholic Church, as the body of Christ, is the only saving Church. It is the
mystical body of Christ, the incarnate Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
Is it possible to think of more than one body belonging to this Head? That is
plainly impossible. Besides, it is the task of the Church to lead souls to
God. There is only one such goal, and there cannot be various ways which are
opposed to one another, as in the non-Catholic churches. The Catholic Church,
therefore, says with Christ: "I am the way" (John 14:6). Be faithful to this
3. The Catholic Church is the only saving Church for all men. Of her
it can be said: "Neither is there salvation in any other" (Acts 4:12). That
is: He who attains to salvation is saved through the Church. either as a
member of the Church or as belonging to the soul of the Church. Non-Catholics
and heathens will be saved through the Church, if they live according to the
dictates of their conscience and co-operate with the necessary graces which
God gives them and thus belong to the soul of the Church. -- Rejoice that you
are a member of the Church, and pray for those who are not within the
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
O God, who didst inflame
Blesseds Agathangel and Cassian with Thy love and grant them to shed their
blood for Thee, graciously grant at their intercession we may in this life so
struggle against the enemy of our salvation that we may merit to be crowned by
Thee in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Franciscan Book
of Saints, ed. by
Marion Habig, ofm., © 1959 Franciscan Herald