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2 Tucson priests to be beatified

Two priests who served in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson in the early 1900s and became martyrs in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War will move one step closer to sainthood when they are beatified Oct. 28 in Rome.

According to a letter sent to Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, the Rev. Lucas Tristany and the Rev. Eduardo Farré are among 498 martyrs – people who died for their faith – in 20th century Spain who will be beatified at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

Tristany, who was born in Spain in 1872, was the first pastor of Holy Family Church, 338 W. University Blvd., according to the letter from an official with the Discalced Carmelite Friars, of which Tristany and Farré were members. Tristany also served at Holy Cross Church in Morenci, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Church in Florence and Santa Cruz Church, 1220 S. Sixth Ave. Farré, born in Spain in 1897, served at Holy Family Church and Santa Cruz Church.

Both came from Spain to Tucson in 1912 and became American citizens, said the Rev. José Luis Ferroni, associate pastor at Santa Cruz Church.

“Lucas and Eduardo were very important to Tucson because they encouraged the Spanish-speaking residents to adopt the new culture of America,” Ferroni said.

The Spanish Civil War began in 1936 when General Francisco Franco and his supporters attempted to overthrow the Second Spanish Republic. Franco was supported by conservative members of clergy, the military and landowners. The Republic was supported by the Soviet Union and Mexico. Franco’s forces won in 1939, and he ruled Spain until his death in 1975.

Tristany and Farré were sought by communist forces after the two returned to Spain and were killed in 1936, Ferroni said.

Tristany’s monastery in Barcelona was burned to the ground, and he and most of those inside were taken outside and shot in the back, Ferroni said.

Farré went into hiding with a family near Montcada, Spain. He was eventually captured by supporters of the Republic, driven to a mass grave in the country and shot, Ferroni said.

According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, beatification is the last step before sainthood in the Catholic Church. Candidates are first declared venerable if they are recognized by the pope for their heroic virtues. They may be beatified if they are martyrs or found to be responsible for a miracle. They may be canonized, or declared a saint, if a second miracle can be attributed to them.

Ferroni said that he and his church are preparing for a celebration in the diocese. Tristany and Farré “are a tribute to the state of Arizona as it approaches 100 years old,” he said.

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