[On 14th February], one of the Blesseds remembered by the Church is Blessed Vicente Vilar David. The youngest of eight children, Blessed Vicente was born to a ceramics manufacturer and his wife on June 28, 1889, in Valencia, Spain. His parents were devoted to their Catholic faith, and their children received a good Christian education. After attending a school run by the Piarist Fathers, Blessed Vicente enrolled at a technical school and earned an industrial engineer’s degree.
Blessed Vicente married a young woman named Isabel and the two lived a model Christian life together. Blessed Vicente became involved in his parish, helping the priests however he could. He also took over the management of his father’s ceramics factory. His workers saw him not only as their boss, but also as a caring father. He was concerned that they would be treated with the justice and dignity to which all workers have a right.
He got fired because of his Catholic beliefs
In the summer of 1936, the Spanish Civil War was at its peak in Valencia. The persecution of Catholics and of the Church by the governing regime was also very intense. Blessed Vicente, who had been teaching at a ceramics trade school, was fired because of his Catholic beliefs. He bravely continued to encourage other Catholics and to give the priests whatever support and help he could. He would welcome priests and religious into his home in order to save their lives.
On February 14, 1937, he was called to appear before a tribunal and commanded to stop his activities on behalf of the Catholic Church. Blessed Vicente replied that being a Catholic was his greatest calling and he would not give up, even if it meant death. He was immediately sentenced to be executed. He was permitted to see his wife and encouraged her with words of faith and conviction. He publicly forgave his persecutors and enemies. Then he was shot to death on the very same day he was arrested.
The ceramics factory workers were outraged. In protest at Blessed Vicente’s execution, they went on strike for three days. They told the socialist officials who tried to prevent their strike, “You have robbed us of our employer and our father. Because he was prudent, kind, and concerned for our working conditions, we not only respected him; we loved him.”
Blessed Vicente was beatified on October 1, 1995 by Pope Saint John Paul II. His death by violent hands was recognised as a true martyrdom for the faith. Our faith applies to every aspect of our lives. In our family and social life, our time at school, our time spent working, we are called to put into practice the values that Jesus taught in the Gospel.
– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris (2/2016)