Thursday, September 5, 2019


I have spoken in past Blogs of the youth group that comes in summer to take on building projects, bring in the hay and winter’s fire wood, etc. The adults who bring the youth are members of the Knights of Columbas. *

Recently, in the magazine they send us, I found martyrs from the revolution in Mexico who had belonged to K of C in their areas.
The 1920s brought a revolution to Mexico, along with the widespread persecution of Catholics.  Missionaries were expelled from the country, Catholic seminaries and schools were closed, and the Church was forbidden to own property. Priests and laymen were told to denounce Jesus and their faith in public. If they refused, they faced not just punishment but torture and death.
During this time of oppression and cruelty, the Knights of Columbus did not retreat in Mexico but grew dramatically, from 400 members in 1918 to 43 councils and 6,000 members just five years later. In the United States at the time, the Knights handed out five million pamphlets that described the brutality of the Mexican government toward Catholics. As a result, the Mexican government greatly feared and eventually outlawed the Order.
Thousands of men, many of whom were Knights, would not bow to these threats or renounce their faith, and they often paid with their lives. They took a stand when that was the most difficult thing they could do.   Six priests were members of the Knights, joining the ranks of the Mexican Martyrs, among the 25 victims of religious persecution canonized in 2000 by Pope  (St.) John Paul II.

Father Pedro
Father Jose Maria
Father Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero was forced to study for the priesthood in El Paso, Texas, because of the political situation in Mexico. He returned home after his ordination in 1918 despite the risk. Captured on Ash Wednesday,1937, while distributing ashes to the faithful, Father Pedro 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 was  ordained in 1913,  founding  the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Guadalajara when he was only 25. On June 25, 1927, he was arrested while preparing to celebrate 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
Father Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán of Union de Tula in Jalisco was issued a warrant for his arrest, so  took refuge a the Colegio de San Ignacio in Ejutla, celebrating Mass and administering the sacraments.
Rather than escape when soldiers arrived, Father Rodrigo 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.
He was taken to the main square of Ejutla, where the seminary was located. He publicly forgave his killers, and then a soldier gave him the chance to save himself by giving the “right” answer to this question, “Who lives?”
But he replied, “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 it was relaxed, he was asked the same question and each time he gave the same response. The third time the noose was tightened, he died.

Father Miguel
Father Mateo

Father Miguel
de la Mora de la Mora of Colima, along with several other priests, 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 Miguel was executed  Aug.7,1927 without a trial by a single shot from a military officer as he prayed his rosary.

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 Mateo  wouldn't violate the seal of confession, and so, the next day, he was taken to a local cemetery and executed by the soldiers.

Father Luis
Father Luis Batiz Sainz was born in 1870. On Aug. 15, 1926, at Chalchihuites, Zacatecas, he and three layman  were put before a firing squad for refusing to submit to anti-religious laws. When Father Luis 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 Luis gave his friend absolution and said: “See you in heaven.”

*  The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded in 1882 by Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut, it was named in honor of the explorer Christopher Columbus. Originally serving as a mutual benefit society to working-class and immigrant Catholics in the United States, it developed into a fraternal benefit society dedicated to providing charitable services, including war and disaster relief, actively defending Catholicism in various nations, and promoting Catholic education The Knights also support the Catholic Church's positions on public policy issues, including various political causes, and are participants in the new evangelizationPope St. John Paul II referred to the order as the "strong right arm of the Church" for their support of the church, as well as for their philanthropic and charitable efforts.

Being a native of Connecticut, our Prioress has a great devotion to Venerable McGivney. (see Blog. 

Prayer to the Knights of Columbus Priest Martyrs of Mexico Almighty and Eternal God, the martyrdom of St. Mateo Correa Magallanes and his priestly companions manifests your love for the nation of Our Lady of Guadalupe and reveals that violence and hatred are only overcome by a spirit of peace and charity. These brother Knights live on in our minds and hearts because by sacrificing their lives for the sake of the Gospel they gave witness that your love is eternal and your truth can never accept compromise. Let their faithful cry to Christ the King encourage us to be brave witnesses of faith and to remain loyal Knights of Columbus . We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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