Budapest (Hungary). June 8, 2022 is the liturgical memorial of Blessed Stefano Sándor, Salesian Coadjutor martyr (1914-1953).
On 4 June 2022, at Budapest, the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, at the end of the Eucharistic celebration, blessed the new urn that contains the relics of the Blessed, found and identified in 2019. The reliquary was carried in solemn procession and placed at the altar of Mary Help of Christians in the Church of the Clarisseum, where the young Coadjutor lived most of his religious life at the service of young people, as a typographer and educator, loved and respected by confreres and young people.
The celebration took place in the courtyards of the building where the headquarters of the Hungarian Province was once located with some annexed buildings, including the printing house where Stefano Sándor worked, recently returned to the property of the Salesians. In his homily, the Rector Major expressed his joy at the “return home” of the Blessed:
“Blessed Stephen Sándor returns to his home and we Salesian Family, friends of Don Bosco, Salesians of Don Bosco, can return to a place, to our home, to continue doing good. (…) The relics of Stephen Sándor, like those of all the Saints and Blesseds, are like stars in the sky that strengthen our faith. (…) Here we have the testimony of a young Salesian Coadjutor, of a printer who assisted the children, who taught catechism, who was in love with God and Don Bosco, and his life has more power because he is a model of life for us”.
Numerous members of the Salesian Family were present: the Provincial of the Hungarian Province (UNG), Fr. János Andrásfalvy; the Regional Councilor for Central and Northern Europe; Fr. Jachimowicz Roman, the Postulator General; Fr. Pierluigi Cameroni, SDB, the Superior from the Province of Africa Nigeria Niger (ANN); Fr. Jorge Crisafulli; Fr. Albert Van Hecke, former provincial in Hungary; Mr. Bryan Magro, World President of the Confederation of Past Pupils. There were also some elderly people, who were boys in the time of Stephen Sándor or his fellow prisoners (Source: InfoANS).
All the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Community Mary Help of Christians of Budapest, of the Triveneta Province of St. Mary D. Mazzarello (ITV), an FMA of the work of Eger, and Sr. Katalin Egyházy of the Community of St. John Bosco of Mogyoród, a native of that area who, before entering the FMA Institute, attended the church and oratory where Blessed Stephen Sándor is now honored. An FMA describes the emotions experienced during the day in this way:
“About 70 years ago, Stefano Sándor left from that door, remaining faithful to God and to the young. Now he has returned, accompanied by an immense crowd, amidst songs of joy and exultation, filled with peace and true bliss. On the urn containing the skull and the leg bones as an outstanding relic, the inscription shines: ‘The martyrs are stars in the dark sky, so that they illuminate the way of love’. At the end of the Eucharist, the urn was placed at the foot of the niche in which stands the statue of Mary Help of Christians, the Mother who always supported him in the ordeal of the exhausting interrogations of the communist regime.
The heroic courage of this young Salesian Coadjutor has given back to everyone, to us present in particular, new vigor to renew ourselves in the ‘da mihi animas coetera tolle’ and has kindled us with new hope, so that in the mission of every day may shine the face, the voice, and the Person of Jesus, the only Savior”.
Born in Szolnok, Hungary, on 26 October 1914, Stefano Sándor met Don Bosco by reading the Salesian Bulletin and immediately felt attracted by the Charism. In 1936, he entered the Clarisseum as an aspirant, where he attended courses as a technician-printer at Don Bosco Printing House. On 24 July 1946, upon returning from the front, where during the Second World War he encouraged his comrades in the trenches with the Salesian spirit, he made Perpetual Profession, becoming a Salesian Brother.
In 1948, he obtained the title of master-printer and dedicated himself to teaching the trade to young people, especially the poorest. At the end of their studies, Stefano’s students were hired in the best printing presses in the capital and in the State. With the Communist persecutions of Catholic schools, Stephen was caught in the act while he was printing in the printing house and had to escape. In July 1952, he was captured while working in a public printing house and was never seen by his confreres again.
The cause of martyrdom began in Budapest on May 24, 2006, the decree of martyrdom is dated 27 March 2013. On 19 October 2013 in Budapest. He was beatified during the Eucharist celebrated by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Card. Angelo Amato, SDB, representing Pope Francis.