Three Martyrs of Chimbote

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Three Martyrs of Chimbote
Priests; Martyrs
BornMichał Tomaszek :
23 September 1960
Łękawica, Żywiec, Poland
Zbigniew Adam Strzałkowski :
3 July 1958
Tarnów, Poland
Alessandro Dordi :
23 January 1931
Gromo San Marino, Bergamo, Italy
DiedMichał Tomaszek :
9 August 1991 (aged 30)
Pariacoto, Ancash, Peru
Zbigniew Adam Strzałkowski :
9 August 1991 (aged 33)
Pariacoto, Ancash, Peru
Alessandro Dordi :
25 August 1991 (aged 60)
Riconada, Ancash, Peru
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 5 December 2015, Chimbote, Peru by Cardinal Angelo Amato
  • 9 August (Tomaszek & Strzałkowski; former)
  • 25 August (Dordi)
  • 7 June (Tomaszek & Strzałkowski; current)
  • Franciscan habit
  • Cassock

The Blessed Three Martyrs of Chimbote were a group of two Polish Franciscan priests and one Italian missionary priest murdered in Peru in 1991 by the Shining Path communist guerillas. Michał Tomaszek and Zbigniew Adam Strzałkowski, and Alessandro Dordi were murdered on 9 August and 25 August 1991 respectively. [1] [2] [3]

Beatification recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person

Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name. Beati is the plural form, referring to those who have undergone the process of beatification.

Missionary member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism

A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.

Shining Path communist organization labeled as a terrorist group in Peru

The Communist Party of Peru – Shining Path, more commonly known as the Shining Path, is a communist revolutionary organization in Peru espousing Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. When it first launched the internal conflict in Peru in 1980, its goal was to overthrow the state by guerrilla warfare and replace it with a New Democracy. The Shining Path believed that by establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat, inducing a cultural revolution, and eventually sparking a world revolution, they could arrive at full communism. Their representatives stated that existing socialist countries were revisionist, and the Shining Path was the vanguard of the world communist movement. The Shining Path's ideology and tactics have been influential among other Maoist insurgent groups, notably the Communist Party of Nepal and other Revolutionary Internationalist Movement-affiliated organizations.


Both Polish Franciscans dedicated their work to the faithful of Peru in charitable and merciful acts that appealed to their Franciscan charism, taking as their models for their work both Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Maximilian Kolbe. In response to a drought in 1989, the two friars brought with them food from Caritas to cater to the immediate needs of the people. Yet the two also catechized the faithful and preached on various saints, in the process, revitalizing the faith of the Peruvian people.

Maximilian Kolbe 20th-century Polish Catholic friar, martyr, and saint

Maximilian Maria Kolbe, a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the German death camp of Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II. He had been active in promoting the veneration of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, founding and supervising the monastery of Niepokalanów near Warsaw, operating an amateur-radio station (SP3RN), and founding or running several other organizations and publications.

Drought extended period when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply

A drought or drouth is an event of prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric, surface water or ground water. A drought can last for months or years, or may be declared after as few as 15 days. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region and harm to the local economy. Annual dry seasons in the tropics significantly increase the chances of a drought developing and subsequent bush fires. Periods of heat can significantly worsen drought conditions by hastening evaporation of water vapour.

Dordi served in Peru since 1980 and tended to the social needs of the Peruvian people while assisting with rural development programs and for his esteemed preaching abilities.

Pope Francis gave approval on 3 February 2015 to their beatification after affirming their martyrdom, and the celebration of beatification was celebrated in Peru by Cardinal Angelo Amato on 5 December 2015. A miracle attributed to the three will be required for their eventual canonization.

Pope Francis 266th and current pope

Pope Francis is the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, the first to visit the Arabian Peninsula, and the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century.

Peru Republic in South America

Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.

Angelo Amato cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Angelo Amato, S.D.B. is an Italian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints between 2008 and 2018. He served as Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2002 to 2008 and became a cardinal in 2010.


Michał Tomaszek

Tomaszek was born on 23 September 1960 and was a professed member of the Conventual Franciscans; he received the Franciscan habit on 4 October 1980 on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Tomaszek was baptized a month after his birth in Saint Michael's parish in his home town and was an altar boy at the time he received his First Communion in 1969 at the same time his father died. He graduated from high school in 1975 and continued his studies in a Franciscan seminary, professing his temporary vows in 1981. He commenced his novitiate after five years of study and studied theology from 1981 to 1987. He studied both philosophy and theology and defended his thesis on moral theology

He was ordained to the priesthood on 23 May 1987. [1]

On 24 July 1989, he was dispatched to Peru and despite threats against him, he continued his missionary activities alongside fellow Franciscan Zbigniew Adam Strzałkowski. In 1991, he was abducted and murdered by the Shining Path Communist guerilla faction.

Zbigniew Adam Strzałkowski

Strzałkowski was born on 3 July 1958 and was a professed member of the Conventual Franciscans. [3] He was baptized a week following his birth and made his First Communion in 1967.

He graduated from secondary schooling in 1978 and he joined the Franciscan order the following year. He studied both philosophy and theology while in the seminary and after this was ordained as a priest on 7 June 1986 by Henryk Gulbinowicz. He served as the assistant rector at the minor seminary in Legnica for two years.

He professed his solemn vows on 8 December 1984 prior to his ordination.

He commenced missionary work in Peru from November 1988. He tended to the ill who often referred to him as "our little doctor" since he helped the ill to get better through words of comfort or providing them with the Eucharist. [4] It was during the course of his work in Peru that he met Michał Tomaszek. Both were abducted in 1991 and were murdered by a Communist guerilla group.

Alessandro Dordi

Tomb of Alessandro Dordi. Loculo di sepoltura Cimitero Gromo San Marino.JPG
Tomb of Alessandro Dordi.

Dordi was born on 23 January 1931 and he served as a priest in his birthplace of Bergamo.

Dordi had administered to Italian immigrants in Switzerland and he served in watch factories there as a worker-priest. It was there that he became aware of the concerns of the working class and decided to place great focus on social matters.

He was also a member of the missions of Fidei Donum and travelled to Peru where he did work in the missions there. He served in the Santa parish and was committed to the farming sector while helping them implement rural development programs. At the time he learned of the fates of the two Polish friars' fate, Tomaszek and Strzałkowski with whom he was friends with, he kept telling his close collaborators that he would be the next victim of the Shining Path group; indeed, they deemed Dordi a great threat. [5]

He was returning from a chapel to baptize children and celebrate Mass when he was ambushed and shot, thus murdered in 1991. [2]


The cause for the beatification of the three priests commenced under Pope John Paul II with the declaration of "nihil obstat" (nothing against) on 5 June 1995 which opened the cause in Peru to investigate their deaths and both their lives and their work in Chimbote; the process spanned from 9 August 1996 until 25 August 2002. The documentation was submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome in 2011 after the diocesan process closed.

Pope Francis approved the beatification in 2015 which occurred on 5 December 2015; Cardinal Angelo Amato presided over the mass.

The pope venerated the relics of the two Poles at a Franciscan convent on the occasion of his visit to Poland for World Youth Day 2016.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments approved the request of the Franciscans - on 26 February 2016 - that the liturgical feast for the two Poles be moved from 9 August to 7 June. [6]

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  1. 1 2 "Venerable Michal Tomaszek". Saints SQPN. 4 February 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  2. 1 2 "Venerable Alessandro Dordi". Saints SQPN. 4 February 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Venerable Zbigniew Adam Strzalkowski". Saints SQPN. 4 February 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  4. "Franciscan Martyrs Michał Tomaszek and Zbigniew Strzałkowski". Pastoral Centre for English Speakers. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  5. "Beatified Chimbote Martyrs". National Catholic Register. 23 November 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  6. "The Feast Day of the Blessed Martyrs of Peru". Friars Minor Conventual. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2017.