Priests were martyred by Mexican government in 1920s and 30s
Contact: Peter Sonski, Knights of Columbus, 203-410-4693
JOLIET, Ill., July 20 /Christian Newswire/ -- The relics of six Knights of Columbus priest martyrs of Mexico, canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000, will be in Joliet July 23-24 as part of a nationwide pilgrimage sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. Thousands of Catholics have already turned out to venerate these same relics during the past five months in Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Washington, D.C.
Relics have long been a part of Catholic devotional practices. Since the days of the Apostles, Christians have preserved and honored the physical remains of men and women recognized as saints.
The relics will be available for veneration Sunday from 6-9 p.m. at St. John the Baptist Church, located 404 N. Hickory St. Monday, the relics will be at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church at 407 Irving St. from 6-9 p.m.
The saints whose relics are coming to Joliet – Fathers Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero, Miguel 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 them – 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. 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. The U.S. portion of the pilgrimage began March 18 at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Dallas, Texas.
“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.
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 on the pilgrimage is available at www.kofc.org/relics.