21 May – Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day

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05-21

May 21

 St. Cristóbal Magallanes and Companions

 (d. 1915-1928)

Like Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro, S.J., Cristóbal and his 24 companion martyrs lived under a very anti-Catholic government in Mexico, one determined to weaken the Catholic faith of its people. Churches, schools and seminaries were closed; foreign clergy were expelled. Cristóbal established a clandestine seminary at Totatiche, Jalisco. Magallanes and the other priests were forced to minister secretly to Catholics during the presidency of Plutarco Calles (1924-28).

All of these martyrs except three were diocesan priests. David, Manuel and Salvador were laymen who died with their parish priest, Luis Batis. All of these martyrs belonged to the Cristero movement, pledging their allegiance to Christ and to the Church that he established to spread the Good News in society—even if Mexico’s leaders once made it a crime to receive Baptism or celebrate the Mass.

These martyrs did not die as a single group but in eight Mexican states, with Jalisco and Zacatecas having the largest number. They were beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.

 

Comment:

Every martyr realizes how to avoid execution but refuses to pay the high price of doing so. A clear conscience was more valuable than a long life.

We may be tempted to compromise our faith while telling ourselves that we are simply being realistic, dealing with situations as we find them. Is survival really the ultimate value? Do our concrete, daily choices reflect our deepest values, the ones that allow us to “tick” the way we do?

Anyone can imagine situations in which being a follower of Jesus is easier than the present situation. Saints remind us that our daily choices, especially in adverse circumstances, form the pattern of our lives.

Quote:

During his homily at the canonization Mass on May 21, 2000, Pope John Paul II addressed the Mexican men, women and children present in Rome and said: “After the harsh trials that the Church endured in Mexico during those turbulent years, today Mexican Christians, encouraged by the witness of these witnesses to the faith, can live in peace and harmony, contribute the wealth of gospel values to society. The Church grows and advances, since she is the crucible in which many priestly and religious vocations are born, where families are formed according to God’s plan, and where young people, a substantial part of the Mexican population, can grow with the hope of a better future. May the shining example of Cristóbal Magallanes and his companion martyrs help you to make a renewed commitment of fidelity to God, which can continue to transform Mexican society so that justice, fraternity and harmony will prevail among all.”

Produced by the Franciscans and St. Anthony Messenger Press (www.franciscanradio.org)

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