New Canonized Saint in the Roman Catholic Church

"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted prophets who were before you." -Mark 5:10-12

St. Jose Sanchez del Rio// Photo courtesy of http://iveminorseminary.org/our-patron

Seminarian

St. Jose Sanchez del Rio// Photo courtesy of http://iveminorseminary.org/our-patron

Salvador Martinez, Photojournalist

This past Sunday (10/16/16) Pope Francis approved the decrees for miracles that paved the way for the canonization of Blessed Jose Luis Sanchez Del Rio. Jose Luis Sanchez Del Rio was canonized by Pope Francis for being known as a “Hero for Christ the King.” He is best known for his strong Catholic Faith.

 

St. Jose Luis Sanchez Del Rio was born in Sahuayo, Michoacan, Mexico on March 28th, 1913. He was the son of Macario Sanchez and Maria Del Rio. Jose had a strong Catholic Faith and he would beg to God that he too might be able to die in defense of his Catholic Faith. The persecution of the Catholic Church was led by the atheist president Plutarco Calles. His plan was to make Mexico a stronger country; he thought that Christianity, mainly Catholicism was weakening the Mexican Republic. His plan was to abolish Catholicism thought in all of Mexico. However in the Mexican constitution it was stated that the main religion in all of Mexico was Roman Catholicism. This lead to a Civil war in Mexico; this war was referred as the “Cristero War.”

 

At the time, Jose and his family heard that the plan of abolishing Catholicism was being taken into action. Jose told his mother that “in order to go to Heaven, we have to go to war!” Jose’s mother was not convinced, but Jose kept insisting. He told his mother to allow his entry in the accompany of the Cristeros, who were soldiers in the Cristero War who were defending the Catholic Faith. As a result, Jose’s mother allowed him to enter in the accompany of the Cristeros. At the moment Jose joined a battle was broke out. In a battle of the Cristero War Jose and the other Cristeros were fighting. He noticed that the General of the Cristeros lost his horse. Jose told the General, “Take my horse and save yourself, you’re the general, and what am I worth to the cause?”

 

A few moments later, Jose was arrested by the government forces and Jose told them “You are going to take me, but I don’t surrender.” One of the troops who had captured him forced him to witness the execution of another Cristero. Instead, he encouraged the man who had arrested him- who prepared to execute him was wavering in the face of death,  to embrace his martyrdom, and the man died heroically for his faith.

 

Later, Jose was imprisoned in a Church in Sahuayo, Michoacan, Mexico. At this time churches were being used as “jail” for Catholic-Christians. Jose wanted to go to Heaven, so he made the decision to be imprisoned. At first, he was offered money which would free him from being in “jail.” His uncle, a Catholic Priest, would bring him food; in the food he would place a consecrated host. Multiple people who would walk past the “jail” would hear him praying and singing to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

 

During this time, the troops noticed he had no shoes, so they offered him a pair. Jose responded “Why do I need shoes? What I want is to go to Heaven!” The men who were watching Jose got angry, so they decided to execute him, and they did. They beat him with matches and cut off the soles of his feet and forced him to walk on a rocky unpaved road. The road that he was walking on lead to the cemetery that he would eventually be buried at.

 

Jose had walked a long way but he had reached the cemetery. The men who had walked with him told Jose, “this is where we are going to bury you.” Jose responded, “That is good, I forgive all of you, since we are all Christians.” He offered his hand to the men and said, “We’ll see each other in Heaven. I want you all to repent!” The men told Jose, “if you say ‘Death to Christ the King’, we’ll let you go back to your family.” Jose was covered in his own blood and before saying anything, he drew a cross on the ground, and covered in his own blood, he yelled so loudly, “Long Live Christ the King!” At this point Jose was shot and killed.

 

Jose Luis Sanchez Del Rio was killed on February 10th, 1928 at the age of 12. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on November 20th, 2005. Jose’s Feast day is on February 10th. Today he is honored for his religious actions in not giving up his Faith. Sarah Ruggles (10) says, “Don’t give up, it is totally worth the ending.”