Sep 01, 2020 1908 Shalom Tidings

A Fiery Priest From the 20th Century!

In 1926, as the Cristero war began, Mexicans had suffered religious persecution for many years. Churches were confiscated and closed. Religious education and gatherings were banned. Religious and priests were forced into hiding.

One night, plainclothes policemen staked out a home where they suspected people were gathering to receive Communion. A man approached and quickly flipped the lapel of his suit jacket, as if to show a lieutenant’s badge.

“What’s going on?” he asked. “We think a priest is inside,” they replied. “Wait here while I check,” he commanded. They kept watch as he went in to boldly distribute Holy Communion to the faithful waiting inside.

Father Miguel Pro was famous for his impersonations. Using a variety of clever disguises, and often in the dead of night, he bravely ventured out to baptize infants, bless marriages, celebrate Mass, hear confessions, anoint the sick and distribute Holy Communion. On more than one occasion, he penetrated a jail disguised as a police officer to bring Holy Viaticum to Catholics awaiting execution. Dressed as a stylish businessman, he even frequented the neighbourhoods of his greatest enemies to collect for the poor.

Arm in arm with a young lady, or dressed in the rags of a beggar, he cheerfully brought spiritual and material relief to beleaguered Mexican Catholics at the risk of his life. Renowned for his ready wit, he laughed in the face of death, “If I meet any long-faced saints in Heaven, I will cheer them up with a Mexican hat dance.” After little more than a year of this clandestine ministry, his enemies were desperate to eradicate his influence. Falsely accusing him of an assassination attempt, he was sentenced to death without trial, immediately after capture.

President Calles invited world media to witness his execution, expecting Father Pro to break down and deny his faith in front of the firing squad. Instead their photos captured him peacefully forgiving and praying for his executioners, refusing a blindfold and welcoming the bullets with arms outstretched in the form of a cross, shouting, “Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long Live Christ the King!)


Shalom Tidings

Shalom Tidings

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