Blanes Giner, Marino, Bl.

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Lay Franciscan, martyr; b. Sept. 17, 1888, Alcoy (Alcoi), Alicante (Archdiocese of Valencia), Spain; d. there, Sept. 8, 1936.

The persecution of the Church began in Alcoy March 31, 1936several months before the start of the civil war in July. On that day the San Mauro parish was closed by mandate. The following day it was demolished in order to build a store on the site. Thereafter other parishes suffered the same fate. Monasteries and convents were sacked, altars destroyed, bells melted down, parish records burned, and religious images and sacred objects profaned or disappeared. Soon the celebration of the Mass was forbidden, but priests continued their ministry covertly. During the period that followed, 15 priests and more than 300 lay people from two parishes in Alcoy were executed for being Christians. Five of whom were beatified, including Marino Blanes Giner, José María Ferrándiz Hernández, Amalia Abad Casasempere, Florencia Caerols Martíínez, and María Jordá Botella.

From the time of his baptism in St. Mary Church two days after his birth, Marino's parents, Jaime Blanes Reig and Josefa Giner Botella, ensured he received a Christian formation. He was confirmed Aug. 8, 1902 by Bp. Juan Benlloch. On Sept. 26, 1913, Marino married the 22-year-old Julia Jordá Lloret, who bore him nine children of whom four were instrumental in his beatification process: Julia Isabel, María de los Desamparados, María del Milagro, and Marino Francisco.

As a layman, Blanes exercised his evangelical spirit as an employee of the Banco Español de Crédito and as an alderman on the city council. He was a member of various Catholic groups, including among others the Third Order of St. Francis, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Apostles of Prayer, and the Nocturnal Adoration Society of which he was president. Additionally, he founded the Center for Catholic Instruction and served as a catechist. His charity exceeded monetary donations, which took him to the point of bankruptcy: on Sundays he personally attended the sick in the Hospital Oliver.

He was described as a peace-loving man of justice, a passionate defender of human and Christian values, honorable, hard-working, considerate of others, and a husband and father. Nevertheless, his close association with the Church marked him as a threat to the new order.

Although Marino was aware of the danger, he continued his catechetical activities following the onset of the revolution. He told his daughter that "one cannot be considered a good Christian without being persecuted."

Blanes was arrested in his home on July 21, 1936, together with his neighbor, Juan Torregrosa. They were taken to the town hall. Torregrosa was released, but Blanes was imprisoned for seven weeks in the municipal jail. Throughout his incarceration he remained optimistic and tranquil. His prison mates related that he treated the humblest and most unlovable among them with the same affection as the greatest and that he always remained pleasant, affable, and prayerful. He daily recited the rosary with Fr. Juan Bautista Carbonell, who was imprisoned with him.

About 3:00 a.m. on September 8, he was taken from the prison. When his son brought his breakfast the following morning, he was told that his father had been released. Another said that he had been taken to Alicante. It was later learned that he had been taken to the "Paseo" and executed. His body was never recovered. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II with José Aparicio Sanz and 232 companions on March 11, 2001.

Feast: Sept. 22.

Bibliography: v. cÁrcel ortÍ, Martires españoles del siglo XX (Madrid 1995). w. h. carroll, The Last Crusade (Front Royal, Va. 1996). j. pÉrez de urbel, Catholic Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, tr. m. f. ingrams (Kansas City, Mo. 1993). r. royal, The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century (New York 2000). L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. no. 11 (14 March 2001) 14, 12.

[k. i. rabenstein]

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Blanes Giner, Marino, Bl.

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