A 19 year old who was murdered while protecting the Eucharist was beatified in Spain over the weekend. At Mass in the Sagrada Família Basilica in Barcelona, Joan Roig Diggle was described by Cardinal Juan José Omella, archbishop of Barcelona, as an “ardent defender of the Social Doctrine of the Church”.
Killed during the Spanish Civil War, in 1936, Joan Roig Diggle had been entrusted with a ciborium containing the Blessed Sacrament to distribute to those in need in their homes. Churches were being burned and destroyed across Barcelona and it was no longer possible to attend Mass.
When militiamen came to his house, he consumed the Eucharists in order to prevent them from being destroyed. He was shot five times in the head and his last words were “May God forgive you as I forgive you”. Today, Blessed Joan is buried in a chapel at the parish of St. Peter in El Masnou in Barcelona.
Cardinal Omella said that he hoped Blessed Joan would serve as an example to other young members of the church. “He can be a model of Christian life for young people and adults in our society, his testimony can arouse the desire to follow Christ with joy and generosity.”
Mass attendance was limited due to health and safety measures currently implemented across Spain to prevent the spread of Covid-19.