AMERICA/MEXICO - “The Church of go and preach is the missionary and martyr Church of the martyrs”: over 50,000 gather in Guadalajara for Beatification of 13 martyrs killed during persecution (10 laymen including an adolescent, and 3 priests)

Monday, 21 November 2005

Guadalajara (Fides Service) - On Sunday 20 November at Jalisco Sports Centre in Guadalajara, there was a solemn Mass with the Beatification of 13 Mexican martyrs: laymen Anacleto Gonzalez Flores, Luis Padilla Gomez, Jorge Vargas Gonzalez, Ramon Vargas Gonzalez, Ezequiel Huerta Gutierrez, Salvador Huerta Gutiérrez, Luis Magana Servin, Miguel Gomez Loza, Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio (aged14 anni) and Leonardo Perez Larios; priests Angel Dario Acosta, Jose Trinidad Rangel, Andres Sola Molist. During the Mexican revolution (1920 to 1930) these brave men did not hesitate to give their lives rather than deny their faith in Christ.
The Mass was presided by Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The main concelebrants were Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íniguez archbishop of Guadalajara and Bishop Guadalupe Martin Rabago of Guanajuato President of the Bishops’ Conference. Some 50,000 people came for the Beatification from all over the country many from the dioceses of the martyrs Guadalajara, Veracruz, Guanajuato and Zamora.
In his homily Cardinal Saraiva Martins said the 13 martyrs “bore admirable witness to their baptismal promises and even shed their blood for love of Christ and his Church in adverse situations and in different local churches”. Addressing thousands of young people present the Cardinal said: “Dear young people, perhaps Christ will not ask you to shed your blood, but he does ask you to bear witness with your life to the Truth, in a world indifferent to transcendent values, charged with materialism and hedonism which tries to suffocate consciences”. In an interview with the local press the Cardinal said “the Church of go and preach is the missionary and martyr Church of the martyrs. The message of our Martyrs is relevant today in the third millennium. They teach us to be strong, to have the courage to live and defend the faith we received at Baptism. This is important today when in many parts of the world people are losing faith. The world needs examples of courage and enthusiasm, willpower and honesty, coherent life in the family, at work, at school, university etc.” Bishop Carlos Suarez Cazeres of Zamora said that today more than ever young people need examples to give meaning to life. The Bishop suggested that adolescent martyr Jose Luis Sanchez de Rio, tortured and killed for the faith at the age of 14 should be proclaimed “Patron of Adolescents”.
The major event was prepared in detail by special commissions. Preparatory catechesis was held on the Vocation to Holiness, the Vocation of the laity to holiness and martyrdom. Celebrations began on Saturday 19 November with an act of ‘veneration of the relics of the martyrs’ in Guadalajara cathedral with a large gathering of priests, religious and lay people. This evening at 8pm there will be a Mass of thanksgiving in the cathedral. (RZ) (Agenzia Fides 21/11/2005, righe 39, parole 545)