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How St. Cristóbal Magallanes and Companions can inspire us

SAN CRISTOBAL MAGALLANES

Fair use | @sancristobalmagallanestotatiche

Philip Kosloski - published on 05/23/24

The Church honors St. Cristóbal and his 24 companions, inspiring us to strive for holiness with courage and determination.

The Cristero War was a dark time in the history of Mexico. Many Catholics, especially priests, were hunted down and killed for living out their faith and opposing the government’s unjust laws.

St. John Paul II recognized the heroism of St. Cristóbal Magallanes and his 24 companion martyrs, canonizing them on May 21, 2000:

The Church in Mexico rejoices at relying on these intercessors in heaven, models of supreme charity who followed in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. They all dedicated their lives to God and their brethren through martyrdom or by generously serving the needy. The firmness of their faith and hope sustained them in the various trials they had to endure. They are a precious legacy, a fruit of the faith rooted in the lands of Mexico, a faith which, at the dawn of the third millennium of Christianity, must be preserved and revitalized so that you may continue to be faithful to Christ and to his Church as you were in the past. Mexico ever faithful!

Among those canonized were 6 men who were members of the Knights of Columbus.

St. Cristóbal Magallanes

Aleteia writer Larry Peterson provides this profile of St. Cristóbal Magallanes:

Father Cristóbal was born in La Sementera, Jalisco, Mexico on July 30, 1869. As a boy, he worked as a shepherd and then entered the seminary at the age of 19.

He was ordained a priest at the age of 30 and was assigned to a parish in Totatiche. While serving his parishioners, he also helped start schools, founded a newspaper, opened catechism centers for children and adults, and even started agrarian cooperatives to help the indigenous farmers of the area.

When the government shut down the seminaries, Father Cristóbal quietly gathered all the displaced seminarians (including Agustin Caloca) and started holding classes in different homes. He wrote and preached against armed rebellion but was accused of promoting it anyway. 

He was arrested on May 21, 1927, while on his way to say Mass at a farm. He was held in jail along with Father Caloca. The two priests were executed together.

The Church remembers St. Cristóbal and his Companions every year on May 21, the anniversary of his martyrdom.

St. John Paul II hoped the canonization would spur all of us on to seek after holiness:

One of [the Jubilee’s] aims is to “inspire in all the faithful a true longing for holiness” (Tertio millennio advenienten. 42). May the example of these new saints, a gift of the Church in Mexico to the universal Church, spur all the faithful, using all the means within their reach and especially with the help of God’s grace, to seek holiness with courage and determination.

St. Cristóbal Magallanes and companions, pray for us!

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