The saint for March 23
Blessed Dominick Methodius Trcka
Local only, optional
Roman Calendar , Redemptorist

Born July 6, 1886 in what is now the Czech Republic
Died March 23, 1959, Leopoldov Prison
Beatified April 24, 2001 by Pope John Paul II

Dominik Trcka was the youngest of seven children in a devout family. He entered the junior seminary of the Redemptorist order in the sixth grade, made his profession on August 25, 1904, and was ordained to the priesthood on July 17, 1910. After finishing his final year of theology, his first assignment was as a missionary working among the Croatian, Slovene and Ruthenian refugees during the First World War.

Fr. Dominik had a lasting desire to work for the unification of the Church, and to that end requested in 1919 to be assigned to work with the Eastern rite church. He was assigned to Lviv, where he undertook to learn a new language so as to be able to work more effectively with the Greek Catholics. It was at this time that he took the name of Methodius, after the great saint celebrated in both Eastern and Western liturgies. In 1921 he founded the first mixed Latin and Byzantine Rite Redemptorist community and served as its superior.

During the Secornd World War, the Redemptorists were suspected of anti statist activities, and to help save his house and assuage suspicions, Fr. Trcka stepped down as superior. After the war a new Vice-Province of Michalovce was established, with Fr. Trcks as its first Vice-Provincial. He encouraged the Redemptorists' return to Stropkov where they worked until the Communists came to power. In 1949 the Communists suppressed the Vice-Province; and late at night on the 13th of April 1950, the knock came at the monastery door. Everyone was taken to the concentration camps, to be interrogated and tortured. It was later told that Father Methodius would take the blame to save the others and then calmly endure the ensuing tortures.

After a quick trial, Fr. Trcka was convicted of espionage and sentenced to twelve years in prison. He never lost his trust in God, and his calm endurance of trials, despite his advanced years, frail health and injuries at the hand of his tormenters. He was a source of encouragement and help for all around him. In April, 1958 he was moved to Leopoldov prison. on Christmas eve he was overheard singing a Christmas hymn and condemned to three days in a solitary cell where he fell ill with pneumonia.. Requests from another prisoner, a doctor, for the frail priest to be transferred to the hospital were denied. Father Trcka died in his cell on March 23,1959, after forgiving his persecutors. In 1969, his remains were transferred from the prison cemetery to the Redemptorists' Church of the Holy Spirit at Michalovce.

Pray to Blessed Dominik For the Unity of the Church
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