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Viva Cristo Rey: Celebrating the Life Witness of Blessed Miguel Pro

November 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Diana von Glahn, Pilgrimage

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Viva Cristo Rey!* Yesterday was the Solemnity of Christ the King, properly known as the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Today, we honor Blessed Miguel Pro, a Catholic priest who was martyred during the persecutions of Catholics in Mexico during the 2BlessedMiguelPro1891-1927Cristero War (1926-1929).

The Feast of Christ the King day was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Quas Primas, just two years before Miguel Pro was martyred on November 23, 1927. The Solemnity always marks the end of the Liturgical year–it’s always the last Sunday before Advent–and it often coincides with the anniversary of Blessed Miguel Pro’s murder.

José Ramón Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, known today as Blessed Miguel Pro, was a Jesuit priest living in Mexico during the Cristero War. During this time, Catholic churches were closed and priests were not allowed to wear their clericals or to celebrate Mass. Hundreds of Mexicans were killed during this period, simply for being Catholic. (There’s a movie about it.)

Imagine that.

Today, when we get hit by a particularly nasty snow blizzard, many people skip Mass because the roads are dangerous or they can’t get out of their driveways because of the snow. It seems legit, right? Icy roads can be a huge hazard.

Imagine the government making it illegal to even attend Mass, and if you go, you will be shot and killed.

That’s a bit worse than icy roads. And yet, hundreds of thousands of Catholic Mexicans put their lives at risk during this time in Mexico. My great-grandmother died during the Cristero war because of the stress brought on by my great-grandfather hiding Catholic priests from the government. It was a scary time.

Miguel was arrested for celebrating Mass and executed by firing squad on false charges of attempting to assassinate the President. His martyrdom is significant because it was captured in photographs (go to my blog post on this from last year to see them).

MiguelProExecution1927The government took the photos because they wanted to chronicle the death of a sniveling, cowardly Catholic priest being killed. Instead, they captured the murder of a brave young man, who met his death with peace and prayer.

Blessed Miguel Pro was a lighthearted guy, often making jokes or teasing his family and friends. Before he died, it’s said that he even joked of going to Heaven, “If I meet any long-faced saints there, I will cheer them up with a Mexican hat dance!”

I hope to meet him there someday.

Websites quoted for this post, and some great resources on Blessed Miguel Pro:

And here is a great list of links to sites on Blessed Miguel Pro


*  Long Live Christ the King!

Art: The blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, Mexican Jesuit, executed by a firing squad in Mexico (1927) for exercising his priestly ministry, scanning of an old photograph, Grentidez 27 November 2009, PD-Worldwide; On 23 November 1927, Miguel Agustín Pro, Mexican Jesuit, is executed by a firing squad (in Mexico City), scanning of an old photograph, Grentidez 27 November 2009, PD-US author’s life plus 70 years or less; both Wikimedia Commons.

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About Diana von Glahn

Diana is the co-producer (along with husband, David), writer, editor, and host of The Faithful Traveler, a series on EWTN, which explores the art, architecture, history and doctrine behind Catholic churches, shrines and places of pilgrimage throughout the world. She is also the author of "The Mini Book of Saints". She blogs, posts updates to Facebook, uploads videos and photos to her website, and sells DVDs of both seasons of The Faithful Traveler.

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  • ThirstforTruth

    God bless you Diane for bringing us this timely and significant piece of our Catholic history. Given the times we are living in, the assassination of this brave saint gives one significant pause. Mass is our life-blood as Catholics and so little understood and sought out. We have so much distraction from the evil world in which we live. It should be an important part of the new evangelization.

  • ace

    Thank you for your article. Slightly OT, but here’s a little known fact about how Mexico, in the mid 1800s, before the time of the Cristero War, helped the Catholic Church establish the faith in the Northwestern U.S.:

    (What is now the Archdiocese of Seattle, was originally established in 1850 as the Diocese of Nesqually, headquartered in Vancouver, Washington as a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Oregon City (now Portland). The episcopal see was moved to Seattle in 1903 and recognized by the Vatican
    in 1907 with a name change to the Diocese of Seattle.)

    “…When Bishop Blanchet and Father Brouillet reached Vancouver, they found safety— but virtually nothing else… The Bishop needed money, but the few Catholics in his new diocese had none to spare. The funds Blanchet had expected to receive from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome were delayed owing to the unrest in Europe… Bishop Blanchet himself resolved to go on a begging tour of his own to Mexico, which was a wealthy—and a very Catholic—nation. He set out in March, 1851, on a journey which would take him through the dioceses of Michoacan, Durango, Mexico City, Puebla, Tamara, and Guadalajara, among others… The ‘eminently Catholic’ hearts of Mexico responded with extraordinary generosity. Bishop Blanchet collected about $30,000 in money as well as vestments, vessels, paintings and images, including a jeweled miter, a gift of the Archbishop of Mexico City, and three six-foot high canvases representing the Crucifixion, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and St. Ignatius Loyola…”

    • LizEst

      Fascinating. Thank you, Ace! …and God bless you!

      …and where are these canvases now?

      • ace

        I’d like to know myself…

        • LizEst

          ; )

    • Diana von Glahn

      wow! thanks!

  • ace
    • LizEst

      Great music and old pictures. Thanks, Ace!

  • ace

    Also before the Cristero War, few know the story of “Saint Patrick’s Battalion” or “Los San Patricios” (Catholic immigrants to America who changed sides during the Spanish-American War, in part because their fellow Protestant American military soldiers were desecrating Mexican Catholic Churches). Their bravery and what they endured for the honor of the Catholic faith is quite notable:

    “…On 10 September 1847, 16 of the condemned San Patricios were hanged at the San Jacinto Plaza, San Ángel, and 14 others received 59 lashes on their bare backs until, according to an American eyewitness, ‘Their backs had the appearance of a pounded piece of raw beef, the blood oozing from every stripe.’ After the flogging, the prisoners were branded with the letter “D” with red-hot branding irons. Some were branded on the hip, while others were branded on the cheek, and O’Reilly was branded on both cheeks for good measure. San Jacinto Plaza thus became the scene of bloody and mangled bodies, mingled with the repulsive odor of the burning flesh of the tortured San Patricios. According to Hogan, five Mexican priests who sought to give spiritual assistance to the victims were forced to witness the whippings and brandings and ordered to withdraw to the gallows to witness the final act of this ‘gruesome and carefully orchestrated spectacle.’… ”

    “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Phil 3:20

    Mexico desperately needs our prayers today given all the terrorism by the drug cartels – as bad as what ISIS is doing; beheadings, murders of priests, and such…

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