John Wall (priest)
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|Saint John Wall, O.F.M.|
|Forty Martyrs of England and Wales|
Preston, Lancashire, England
|Died||22 August 1679
|Beatified||1929, Rome by Pope Pius XI|
|Canonized||25 October 1970, Rome by Pope Paul VI|
|Major shrine||Douai, France|
He was born in Preston, Lancashire. When of age, he entered the English College, Douai (in modern-day northern France) in 1641, and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1645. He returned to his homeland for several years, saying Mass for the Catholics who stayed loyal to the papacy. He returned to Douai and there he entered the Order of Friars Minor, taking the name Friar Joachim of St. Ann. He was soon named Master of novices, serving in that office until 1656, when he returned to England, settling in Worcestershire. There he became a Governor (Six Master) of the Royal Grammar School Worcester.
In 1678, after 22 years of ministry to the Catholics of the nation, he was apprehended under suspicion of being a party to the Titus Oates plot and sent to the Worcester jail. His trial was on 25 April. After being sent to London he was brought back to Worcester and executed for being a Catholic priest and exercising as such.
His remains were buried in the cemetery adjoining the Church of St. Oswald of Worcester, while the head was taken to the Franciscan friary of Douai, to which the martyr belonged, where it is still preserved and venerated. Previously, his feast day was observed within the Franciscan Order on the date of his death, 22 August. It has been moved and is currently observed on 12 July, a date he shares with his brother friar and fellow martyr, St. John Jones, O.F.M.. In the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham his feast day is celebrated on 23 August.
In 1679, during the time of the Catholic reformation, when it was illegal to say mass in Britain, Father John Wall defied the law and was subsequently arrested for heresy. He steadfastly refused to forsake his religion, was hung drawn and quartered