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The Knights of Columbus

Soon we’ll be starting a Knights of Columbus Council at Holy Spirit (see the facing page). The Knights have had a long connection with the martyr saints of Mexico. Given this, and that All Saints Day is Nov. 1, we look at some of them. As background: from 1926-1929, Mexicans lived through violent persecution, in which priests and laypeople were ordered to publically renounce Christ. Refusal meant facing not only punishment, but also torture and death. Thousands gave witness to their faith and fought to defend it. Many paid for with their lives.

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Father Miguel de la Mora de la Mora

Father Miguel de la Mora de la Mora of Colima belonged to Council 2140. Along with several other priests, he publicly signed a letter opposing the anti-religious laws imposed by the government. He was soon arrested and, with his brother Regino looking on, Father de la Mora was executed without a trial by a single shot from a military officer as he prayed his rosary. It was Aug. 7, 1927.

 

 Father Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero

Father Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero was a member of Council 2419. He studied for the priesthood in El Paso, because of the political situation in Mexico. He returned home after his ordination in 1918 despite the risk. Captured on Ash Wednesday, 1937, while giving ashes to the faithful, Father Maldonado Lucero was so savagely beaten that one eye was forced from its socket. He died the next day at a local hospital. His tombstone aptly described this martyr in four words: "You are a priest."

 

Father Jose Maria Robles Hurtado

Father Jose Maria Robles Hurtado was a member of Council 1979. Ordained in 1913, he founded the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On June 25, 1927, he was arrested while celebrating Mass. Early the next morning, he was hanged from an oak tree, but not before he had forgiven his murderers and offered a prayer for his parish. He went so far as to place the rope around his own neck, so that none of his captors would hold the title of murderer.

 

 Father Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán

Father Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán of Union de Tula in Jalisco was a member of Council 2330. After a warrant was issued for his arrest, he took refuge a the Colegio de San Ignacio in Ejutla, celebrating Mass and administering the sacraments.

Rather than escape when soldiers arrived, Father Aguilar Alemán remained at the seminary to burn the list of seminary students, and thus protect them from being known. When the soldiers demanded his identity, he told them only that he was a priest.

Taken to the main plaza of Ejutla, he publicly forgave his killers. A soldier gave him the chance to save himself by giving the “right” reply to the question “Who lives?” But he said “Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe.” The noose that had been secured to a mango tree was tightened, then relaxed twice. Each time he was asked the same question and each time he gave the same reply. The third time, the noose was tightened and he died.

 

Father Luis Batiz Sainz

Father Luis Batiz Sainz was born in 1870, and was a member of Council 2367. On Aug. 15, 1926, at Chalchihuites, Zacatecas, he and three layman – David Roldan, who was only 19 at the time, Salvador Lara and Manuel Morales – were put before a firing squad for refusing to submit to anti-religious laws. When Father Batiz Sainz asked the soldiers to free one of the captives, Manuel Morales, who had sons and daughters, Morales wouldn’t hear of it.  “I am dying for God," he declared,” and God will care for my children.” Smiling, Father Batiz Sainz gave his friend absolution and said: “See you in heaven.”

 

 Father Mateo Correa Magallanes

Father Mateo Correa Magallanes, who was a member of Council 2140, was arrested and taken to Durango. While in prison, he was ordered by the commanding officer on Feb. 5, 1927, to hear the confessions of his fellow prisoners. Then the commander demanded to know what they had told him. Of course, Father Correa Magallanes wouldn't violate the seal of confession, and so, the next day, he was taken to a local cemetery and executed by the soldiers.

 

Heart, Soul and Mind

Monsignor Royal's weekly column as featured in our bulletin.


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