April 28, 2014 - A 20th century Italian PIME missionary in Myanmar, formerly
Burma, and his young local catechist will be declared Blessed on May 24, in the Cathedral
of Aversa, near Naples in southern Italy. Father Mario Vergara a missionary of the
Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) and his catechist, Isidore Ngei Ko
Lat will be beatified for their martyrdom. The two were shot at dawn on 25 May 1950,
on the banks of the Salween River, with gunfire heard in the nearby village. Their
bodies, sealed in bags, were thrown into the river and never found. The beatification
Mass will be presided over by Card. Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican Congregation
for the Causes of Saints. The bishops of Myanmar have defined the beatification as
"a great encouragement for the entire Catholic community in Myanmar to live their
faith more in line with the Gospel and to be courageous and heroic witnesses’. 39-year
old Father Vergara is the 19th PIME martyr and the fifth to be raised to the glory
of the altars by the Church.
Prior to the beatification, a historical convention will be held on May 15 in nearby Frattamaggiore, the birth place of Fr. Vergara. This will be followed by a prayer vigil on May 22 in Frattaminore, presided over by the PIME Superior General Father Ferruccio Brambillasca. The day after the May 24 beatification, Bishop Angelo Spinillo of Aversa will celebrate a thanksgiving Mass in Frattamaggiore. Finally, the 69th missionary congress will take place on June 1 at the home of PIME in Ducenta (Caserta).