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Relics of Martyred Mexican Saints to Visit Arizona, July 13-19

Martyrs were killed during little-known persecution of the Church in Mexico

Contact: Andrew Walther, 818-522-2005, andrew.walther@kofc.org

PHOENIX, July 12 /Christian Newswire/ -- The relics of six Knights of Columbus priest martyrs of Mexico – canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000 – will come to Arizona from July 13-19 as part of a nationwide pilgrimage organized by the Knights of Columbus. Thousands have already turned out to venerate these same relics in California, Texas and Pennsylvania over the past few months.

The relics will be in Phoenix from July 13 – July 16. They will be in Sierra Vista on July 17, and in Tucson on July 18. From Arizona the relics go to South Bend, Chicago and New York City. A schedule is available at www.kofc.org/relics.  

The six priests whose relics will be in Arizona-– Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero, Miguel de la Mora de la Mora, Jose Maria Robles Hurtado, Luis Batiz Sainz, Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán, and Mateo Correa Magallanes -– were martyred for their faith by the Mexican government during the religious persecution in Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s. One of the priests – Father Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero – was ordained in the United States in 1918 before returning to Mexico, where he was killed for his faith in 1937.

The pilgrimage of the relics began in Mexico City in September 2005, to mark the centennial of the Knights of Columbus in Mexico. From there, the reliquary traveled to cities throughout Mexico.

The U.S. portion of the pilgrimage began March 18 at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Dallas. After traveling to several major U.S. cities, the pilgrimage will conclude in Orlando at the Knights of Columbus' 124th Supreme Convention in August 2006.

"This pilgrimage seeks to promote knowledge of and devotion to the Knights of Columbus priest martyrs of Mexico and all those who sacrificed their lives for their faith during the Mexican persecution," explained Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, who attended the opening ceremonies for the U.S. portion of the pilgrimage in Dallas.

Relics have long been a part of Catholic devotional practice. Since the days of the Apostles, Christians have preserved and honored the physical remains of men and women recognized as saints. Previous relic pilgrimages have drawn large numbers of the faithful. In 2003, the Knights co-sponsored the journey of a relic of the Tilma of Tepeyac, the cloth that bears the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. That tour drew more than 150,000 people, including thousands in Arizona.

The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest lay Catholic organization, with more than 1.7 million members in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Additional information – and a full schedule – is available at www.kofc.org/relics.