Blessed Apollinaris Franco

Born in Aquilar del Campo, in Old Castile, Spain, Apollinaris was educated in law at Salamanca. Apollinaris entered the Franciscan Order and was sent to Japan in 1614 as a missionary, though practicing Christianity there was considered a capital offense.

He served as superior of the Franciscan missions in Japan, but was quite soon discovered and arrested by the authorities in 1614. Imprisoned for five years on death row in the prison of Omura, Apollinaris spent his time joyfully praying, preaching, and ministering to the other prisoners. He spread the Word of God faithfully, and even converted his jailers. On September 12, 1622, he and other Franciscans became martyrs as they were burned at the stake for their faith.

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