St Christopher Magallanes and Companions, Martyrs

James 4.1-10; Psalm 54; Mark 9.30-37

A new Constitution for Mexico, issued in 1917, placed draconian restrictions on Christianity, with the absurd goal of eradicating Catholicism from the country (the Governor of the Mexican state of Tabasco was said to be so anti-Catholic that he named his three sons Lenin, Satan, and Lucifer); these restrictions were vehemently enforced during the 1920s, prompting a protest movement of some brave priests who became known as the ‘Cristero’ movement, from their slogan ‘Long live Christ the King and the Virgin of Guadalupe.’  The ‘Cristero War’ forms the background for Graham Greene’s novel The Power and the Glory, though his ‘whisky priest’ is a fictional creation.

St Christopher Magallanes (1869-1927) is one of 22 Mexican priests and 3 laymen who were martyred by shooting or hanging between 1915 and 1937.  St Christopher had built an illegal seminary for the training of priests at Totatiche.   He had fed Christ’s own sheep and was arrested whilst walking to a nearby village to celebrate mass.  The following day he was shot to death by a firing squad.  He died with words of forgiveness on his lips for his executioners.

Posted in Daily Reflection.