Saints of the Cristero War
May 21, 2000, Pope John Paul IIcanonized a group of 25 saints and martyrs arising from the Mexican Cristero War. The vast majority are Roman Catholic priests who were executed for carrying out their ministry despite the suppression under the anti-clerical laws of Plutarco Elías Calles. Priests who took up arms, however, were excluded from the process. The group of saints share the feast day May 25[ [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/homilies/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_20000521_canonizations_en.html "Homily of Pope John Paul II: Canonization of 27 New Saints, Sunday, 21 May 2000"] .] .
Luis Bátiz Sainz
Luis Bátiz Sainz was born on
September 13, 1870. He attended a minor seminaryfrom age 12, and was ordained on January 1, 1894. He worked as spiritual director of the seminary and as parish priest in Chalchihuites, Zacatecas. He was noted for his pastoral zeal and capacity to organize the parish. He founded a workshop for Catholic workers and a school.
He spent a great part of his time on the catechesis of children and adults and was very fervent in his
Eucharistic adoration. He is reported to have said, "Lord, I want to be a martyr; though I am your unworthy minister, I want to shed my blood, drop by drop, for your name."
Before the closure of the churches in 1926, there was a meeting of the National League for the Defense of Religious Liberty which discussed the possibility of armed rebellion to overthrow the government. Fr. Bátiz spoke at this meeting and was denounced to the government. When the churches were closed, he moved to a private house, where he was captured by government soldiers on
August 14, 1926. Although there was a public outcry, the government decided to execute the priest. On the pretext of transferring him to Zacatecas, he was taken from the city together with three members of the Mexican Association for Catholic Youth. Underway, they were taken from the car and shot on the side of the road.
Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán
Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán was born on
May 13, 1875. After his seminary training in Guzmán, he was ordained a priest in 1905. He was known for his literary abilities, writing both prose and poetry. He worked in various parishes. He was a Knight of Columbusand a member of Council 2367.
In 1927, he was the priest connected with the Tula Union, but was denounced for his ministry. He fled, taking refuge in a ranch, from which he attended to the spiritual needs of his flock. He was betrayed to the government by one of the members of his parish, leading to his arrest in October by a squad of federal soldiers led by Brigadier General Juan Izaguirre.
The day after his arrest, he was led to the main square of the city for execution. He blessed his captors and gave them his pardon, giving his
rosaryas a gift for one of the firing squad members. Before his execution, he shouted the Cristero motto: "Long live Christ the King and Blessed Mary of Guadalupe!" He was buried in the parish church at Tula.
Agustín Caloca was born in
San Juan Bautista de Teúlon May 5, 1898. He attended the seminary in Guadalajara, Jalisco, but was sent back to his family when the building was sacked during the Mexican Revolution. He continued his studies in a clandestine auxiliar seminary. In 1919, he was able to return to Guadalajara and was ordained on August 15, 1923. His priestly assignment was to the parish of Totaticheand to the prefecture of the seminary.
Government troops closed in to close down the seminary in late May 1927. Fr. Caloca sent the students to flee to safety, and himself attempted to do the same, but was captured by a group of soldiers. He found himself in the jailhouse of Totatiche, together with Fr. Cristóbal Magallanes. General Goñi ordered his transfer to
Colotlán, where he was executed in the burned city hall building. His heart was found to be incorrupt when his body was returned to the parish of Totatiche in 1933.
Román Adame Rosales
Román Adame Rosales was born on
February 27, 1859. He studied for the priesthood in Guadalajara, Jalisco, and was ordained on November 30, 1890. He worked in various parishes, showing a profound dedication to the Blessed Virgin Maryand to catechesis, directing spiritual exercises, and parish schools. He founded the association "Daughters of Mary and Nocturnal Adoration". He built numerous chapels on the ranches. When the Calles Law forced the closing of the churches, he continued his ministry in private houses.
He was captured by government forces and underwent
torture. He was taken to Yahualica, where he spent several days tied up, without food and water. On April 21, 1927, he was taken to an open grave, where he was executed by firing squad. His remains were later disinterred and brought to Nochistlán.
Atilano Cruz Alvarado
Atilano Cruz Alvarado was born in
Teocalticheon October 5, 1901. He worked as a ranch hand for his family until the parents decided to send him to Teocaltiche to learn to read and write. There he discovered his vocation and entered a clandestine seminary in 1918. Two years later, he was sent to Guadalajara to finish his training. He was ordained on July 24, 1927and sent to Cuquío, where the parish was being run from a ranch house, "Las Cruces".
In the wee hours of the next morning, he was apprehended by a squad of soldiers. In the jail he attended Fr. Justino Orona and his brother, who were there covered with wounds. While he was praying at the foot of the bed, the soldiers shot Fr. Cruz. His still living body was thrown on to the porch together with Fr. Orona. The two were then taken to Cuquío, where their bodies were dragged through the central square, during which they died.
Cristóbal Magallanes Jara
Toribio Romo González
Rafael Guízar Valencia
List of canonizations
Anacleto González Flores
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