Knights of Columbus Mexican Martyrs
|Father Miguel de la Mora de la Mora||Father Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero|
|Father Jose Maria Robles Hurtado||Father Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán|
|Father Luis Batiz Sainz||Father Mateo Correa Magallanes|
In addition to the revolution in Mexico, the 1920s brought about the mass persecution of Catholics.
The missionaries were expelled from the country, Catholic seminaries and schools were closed, and the Church was banned from owning properties. Priests and lay people were ordered to renounce their faith in Jesus and the public; and by refusing they faced not only punishment but torture and death.
During this time of oppression and cruelty, Knights not only not left Mexico but the 400 members in existence in 1918 became 43 councils and 6,000 members in the space of just five years. At that time, Knights were distributing five million pamphlets in which the brutality of the Mexican government toward Catholics was documented. As a result, the Mexican government’s fear of the Order came to such an extent that eventually they were declared outlaws.
Thousands of men, many of whom were Knights, refused to renounce their faith in response to these threats; and therefore, often they paid with their lives. They adopted this position when it was the hardest thing to do, and his courage and devotion have echoed through the decades.
Here are some of the stories of the Knights who joined the ranks of Mexican martyrs who were among the 25 victims of religious persecution and who were canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000.
Father Miguel de la Mora de la Mora of Colima, Board Member of Council 2140, who together with several other priests publicly signed a letter opposing the laws ante-religious enacted by the government, was summarily arrested, and while his brother Regino looked on, Father de la Mora was executed without trial, shot by a military officer while the priest prayed the rosary. It happened on August 7, 1927.
Father Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero, a member of Council 2419, was forced to study for the priesthood in El Paso, Texas, due to the political situation in Mexico, returned home after being ordered, despite the risks. He was captured on Ash Wednesday in 1937, while distributing the ashes to the faithful. Father Maldonado Lucero was so savagely beaten that one eye went out of its socket. He died the next day at a local hospital. The headstone of his grave at Martyr described with four words: “You are a priest.”
Father Jose Maria Robles Hurtado, a member of Council 1979, was ordained in 1913 and founded the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Guadalajara. He had only 25 years. The June 25, 1927 was arrested as he prepared to celebrate mass. Early in the morning the next day he was hanged from an oak but not before forgive his executioners and said a prayer for his parish. He reached the end of it placed the noose around his own neck so that none of his captors had to live with the title of murderer.
Father Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán of Union de Tula in Jalisco, 2330. As a member of the Council document issued for his arrest, took refuge in the Colegio de San Ignacio in Ejutla where was celebrated Mass and the sacraments. Instead of running away when the soldiers arrived, Father Aguilar was in seminary to burn the lists with the names of seminarians, to protect them. When the soldiers asked him to identify himself said only that he was a priest. He was taken to the main square where was located Ejutla Seminary. He publicly forgave his executioners and then one of the soldiers gave him a chance to save themselves if given the “right” answer to the question “Who will?” Father Aguilar Alemán would have been forgiven if he had only answered “Long live the Supreme Government “but he replied,” Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe. “The noose tied to a mango tree pressed and released twice and each time it is let go he asked the same question and he gave them the same answer . The third time, the knot tightened killing him.
Father Luis Batiz Sainz was born in 1870, Board Member 2367. The August 15, 1926 in Chalchihuites, Zacatecas, he and three other lay Rolda David, who was then only 19 years old, Salvador Lara and Manuel Morales They were put in charge of a squad of discharge for refusing to obey the laws against religion. When Father Batiz Sainz asked the soldiers in the release of one of the captives, Manuel Morales, who had sons and daughters, Morales refused to accept it. “I’m dying for God,” he declared, “God take care of my children.” Smiling, Father Batiz Sainz gave him absolution and said. “I’ll see you in heaven”
Father Correa Magallanes, Board Member 2140, was arrested and taken to Durango. While in prison, the commander ordered the February 5, 1927 to confess to other prisoners. Then the commander ordered him to tell what he was told. Of course, Father Correa Magallanes can not violate the secrecy of confession and, therefore, the next day they took him to the village cemetery where he was executed by the soldiers.
|Father Joseph T. Rangel Montaño||Father Andrés Solá Molist|
In 2005, two other Knights also Mexican martyrs were beatified, José Trinidad Rangel Montano, a diocesan priest of Leon and member of Council 2484, and Father Andrés Sola Molist, Spanish Claretian priest, a member of Council 1963. Both were executed for their faith in April 1927, in Rancho de San Joaquin, Mexico.
These men and many more, paid the ultimate sacrifice for their Catholic activities in Mexico during the 1920s and 1930s But through this period, the Knights of Columbus in Mexico kept the Faith and hundreds of them gave their lives to protect their beliefs, some as martyrs and others in the armed struggle against the government Cristeros.
Although always preferred a peaceful struggle against the government, Pope Pius XI praised the work of Knights in Mexico in his 1926 encyclical, Iniques Afflictisque, and wrote: “Knights of Columbus is an organization that is in all states of the Mexican Republic and fortunately is composed of active members and workers, who, as a result of their practical lives and open profession of faith, like his zeal in assisting the Church, have won the deserved honors. ”
Knights and the Church in general in Mexico have been consistently supported by the Knights in the United States, who, in addition to distributing literature that kept Americans informed regarding the plight of the Church in Mexico, they tried to influence the President Coolidge to put pressure in order to end the persecution. In 1926, Coolidge met with a delegation of the Knights of Columbus consists of, among others, Supreme Knight James Flaherty, the future Supreme Knight Luke Hart and Supreme Director William Prout. Coolidge confirm the commitment made by his administration in order to resolve the problems in Mexico.
Although Knights had been declared an outlaw in Mexico, with hundreds dead – even Columbia, the magazine of the Order temporarily banned – Knights survived. In 2005, during the Centennial Convention in Mexico City, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said that the Knights in Mexico “are unparalleled” in his devotion to “our founding ideals and his devotion to faith Catholic “.
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