Dom Justo Takayama Ukon (1552-1615), a samurai who converted to Catholicism at the age of 12, was beatified as a martyr in Osaka, Japan, on February 7.
Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the Mass of beatification, which took place in an arena, Osaka-jo Hall.
As a result of Takayama’s lay evangelizing activity, Osaka at one point was over 80% Catholic, according to Vatican Radio. Exiled from Japan at the end of his life, Takayama died shortly after arriving in the Philippines.
“Rather than make compromises, he renounced honors and comfort, accepting humiliation and exile,” Pope Francis said following his February 8 general audience. “He remained faithful to Christ and to the Gospel; therefore he represents an admirable example of strength in faith and devotion in charity.”