Procession with the image of St. Francis. In the habits stand Zbigniew Strzałkowski and Michał Tomaszek, surrounded by children. The brothers were well-liked in the Paracioto community.

Zbigniew Strzałkowski, baptizing a child in the depths of the Andes. In addition to evangelizing and administering the sacraments, missionaries also conducted social activities.

The last journey of the martyrs from Casma to Pariacoto gathered crowds of people moved by the death of the missionaries.

Michał Tomaszek
Zbigniew Strzałkowski

Michał Tomaszek was born on 23 September 1960 in Łękawica near Żywiec. As part of high school, he graduated from the Franciscan Lower Theological Seminary in Legnica. In 1980, he entered the Franciscan Order and after a year of novitiate in Smardzewice, he made his religious vows. He commenced his novitiate after five years of study and studied theology from 1981 to 1987. He studied both philosophy and theology and defended his thesis on moral theology. After he was ordained a priest, on 23 May 1987, he served as a priest in the parish in Pieńsk for two years. In July 1989, he went on a mission to Peru.

Zbigniew Strzałkowski was born on 3 July 1958 in Tarnów. He lived with his parents in nearby Zawada. After completing primary school, he studied at the Mechanical Technical School and worked in the profession for a year. He entered the Franciscan novitiate in 1979. During his studies at the Franciscan Major Seminary in Krakow, he participated in the founding of the Ecological Movement of St. Francis of Assisi (REFA). He was ordained a priest on 7 June 1986 and for two years he was an educator and vice-rector of the Franciscan Theological Seminary in Legnica. In November 1988, he went on a mission to Peru.

In Peru their mission was the pastoral care of four rural and remote parishes (Pariacoto, Yaután, Cochabamba and Pampas Grande) in the Cordillera Negra. Missionaries performed pastoral duties, administered the sacraments, conducted courses for lay catechists, and travelled to remote villages. They also ran social projects – the primary goal was to respond to everyday needs, especially of the poorest people. Zbigniew Strzałkowski and Michał Tomaszek were killed on 9 August 1991 in Pariacoto in the Peruvian Andes. They were murdered by terrorists from the Communist-maoist guerrilla faction Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso). On 5 December 2015 in Chimbote, Peru, the solemn beatification of both martyrs took place.