On November 6, 2019, the 380th anniversary of the martyrdom of Friar Štefan IGLÓDI, was commemorated. Friar Štefan was a young novice during the 1600’s.
The village of Rad in Eastern Slovakia, is the site of the remains of a missionary residence of our friars. It was here that Friar Štefan and a number of other friars gave their lives in testimony to the faith. Today, the local pastor, together with the faithful, organized a commemorative event which featured Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, and a procession to the place where the bodies of the martyred missionaries were buried. The participants also honored the icon of Mary, Queen of the Franciscan Order. The main guest, and also the homilist, was the Most Reverend Edward KAWA, OFM Conv., Auxiliary Bishop of Lviv, the Ukraine.
Many religious and diocesan priests from Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and the Ukraine attended the Mass. At the beginning of the celebration, the Pastor conveyed greetings from the Most Reverend Bernard BOBER, Metropolitan Archbishop of Košice, Slovakia. The Bishop urged those present searching for holiness to find inspiration in the testimony of Friar Štefan and the other Franciscan martyrs of Rad.
Friar Štefan was born into a noble family in 1621 in Kisrozvágy, located in present-day Hungary. His parents were Calvinists and taught him to hate the Catholic Church. As a teenager, he entered into the service of Count Štefan GNÁRI, himself a Calvinist, and witnessed a miracle when a Franciscan missionary cured the Count of a serious illness through prayer. The Count converted, and under his influence, Štefan, too, became a Catholic. Štefan entered the Conventual Franciscan Order with the desire to live in penance. For six months he led an exemplary life with the other friars at the friary in Rad. His life was characterized by love, piety and an apostolic spirit.
Friar Štefan was martyred on Sunday, November 6, 1639, by two men, whom he had known from his childhood. They tried to persuade him to leave the Order and return to his parents’ Calvinist faith. Failing to convince him, they humiliated and tortured him. From the day of his death until now, Friar Štefan has been considered a martyr of fidelity to the religious vocation.
Friar Jozef SUKENÍK