Servant of God Bartholomew Arbona, S.J.

Servant of God Bartholomew Arbona, S.J.
Posted on 11/28/2017
Martyr of the Spanish Civil War

Up until the time of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Fr. Bartholomew Arbona S.J. lived in a small residence with several Jesuits.  After the civil war began, each of the Jesuits had to seek refuge for himself; it was too dangerous to live in a group.  But even though he had to constantly change his residence, he did not go into hiding from the Communists who warred against Catholicism; however, if found, a priest would be arrested and executed.

Even though Fr. Arbona had to change his residence, sometimes spending only three days in one place, he carried on with his priestly duties.  He said Mass in different houses on different days; he preached, heard confessions, and gave the faithful Holy Communion.  He wore the uniform of a messenger service, his visits to these houses were never suspected. He walked through the parks of Barcelona, and though he gave the appearance of one carrying on a conversation with a friend, he was actually hearing a penitent’s confession.  He did the same in the streets of Barcelona.  When friends would ask him to be more cautious, he responded, “”Why? I’ve prayed for this for forty years. This is our hour! Christ’s soldiers do not flee, they stay and fight.”

He frequently gave people consecrated hosts in folded paper so they could take the Holy Communion home – it was said he distributed a thousand hosts a week with this method.  The seventy-four-year-old was arrested on the morning of November 25, 1936.  Sleeping in a friend’s house that happened to be raided by revolutionaries, one of the soldiers was helping him put his coat on and he found a slip of paper with a host inside.  The soldier said, “Oh, you are a priest!”  Fr. Arbona responded, “Yes, you have said it.” 

He was taken to a prison and interrogated for three days; in the early hours of November 30th, he was executed.  
Jesuit Saints and Martyrs, Fr. Joseph N. Tylenda, S.J.

I just learned yesterday that Mrs. Elfriede Brunner, former SJJ language teacher, passed to the Lord recently.  Elfriede taught many years at St. John’s Jesuit.  Pray for her peaceful passing to her loving Lord and for her husband and family.  Pray also for our community; yesterday, a few of us that remember her well shared how  we were sadden and appreciative of all she did for SJJ. “Above all trust in the slow work of God.  We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.  Give our Lord the benefit of believing that His hand is leading you.” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.) Servant of God Fr. Bartholomew Arbona, pray for us.  St. John Berchmans, pray for us.  St. Ignatius, pray for us.

“Seek the Kingdom of God and its justice and all good things will be added to you.”  (Luke 12:31)

Jesus said, “Seek and you will find.” (Lk. 11:9)  He sought a new resurrected universe; he found it. The resurrection he sought for and found was the lost potential of the victim that must be redressed. He wanted legitimate human aspirations and latent powers to be fully developed.  This just universe actually exists and includes Jesus himself.  Jesus entered this marvelous universe that he sought and confirmed  that it can exist for us.  It does not yet exist in our space and time because others have not sufficiently sought it. Jesus encourages us to seek God’s Kingdom as he sought it; his life, death, and resurrection showed the believer that it exists and can be found.  – David Burton Bryan
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