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Young Martyr a Symbol of Hope for Mexico's Priests

Junno Arocho Esteves - Catholic News Service
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October 22, 2016

A man held an image of St. Jose Sanchez del Rio, who was martyred at the age of 14 in 1928, before the canonization Mass for him and six others, celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (Paul Haring/Catholic News Service)

The heroism of Mexico's newest saint, St. Jose Sanchez del Rio, should embolden the nation's priests to continue their ministry with trust in God, said the vice postulator of the young saint's cause.

For priests in Mexico, especially those who denounce the activity of drug traffickers and find themselves targeted for attacks, the life of St. Jose is a call to place their "full trust in God," Antonio Berumen, the vice postulator, said.

"There comes a time in which, evidently, we must live through difficult times, but in the end Jose's message is 'I trust in you,'" he said. "It is complete trust in God and having the assurance that there is someone who acts and continues to act in the lives of men and women."

As Pope Francis declared seven new saints Oct. 16, one of the banners hanging on the facade of St. Peter's Basilica showed a young boy dressed in blue jeans and a white shirt.

In his hands, the 14-year-old St. Jose holds a rosary and a palm branch, symbols of his unshakeable faith and martyrdom. A trail of blood is seen at his feet along with a single bullet, symbolic of the torture and the manner of death he endured at the hands of his captors.

The martyrdom of St. Jose Sanchez del Rio, who died in 1928 during a government crackdown on Catholics, takes on a new meaning today amid violence in Mexico.

The murder of three priests in September was the latest in a disturbing trend of attacks against priests throughout the country. According to the Catholic Multimedia Center, 15 priests have been murdered in Mexico in the last four years.

Read the rest at St. Louis Review

Related: The Religious Right Begins to Flex Its Muscles in Secular Mexico (The Washington Post)

Related: Murders of 15 Priests in Four Years Adds to Strained Relations Between Catholic Church and Mexico (Houston Chronicle)

Related: Man Suspected of Killing Two Priests Caught in Mexico City (Christian Today)

Related: Mexico’s Newest Cardinal Blends Francis with Benedict XVI (Crux)

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