Miguel Agustin Pro
Feast Day: November 23
Beatified: September 25, 1988
Venerated: November 10, 1986
After a happy childhood in a loving and religious family in Guadalupe, Mexico, Jose Ramon Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez entered the seminary in 1911 to study to become a Jesuit priest. The seminary closed when the government began to persecute Catholics. Miguel had to flee his country. He was finally ordained in Belgium in 1925 when he was 34 years old.
Miguel returned to Mexico even though it was dangerous because the government had forbidden Catholics to practice their faith. The Cristero War (1926-1929) saw faithful Catholics rebelling against the oppression of the government, and the military and government officials responded with great brutality.
Miguel had to minister to his beloved Mexican people in secret. It is said that he wore disguises to protect himself and others. He dressed as a beggar and visited homes to say Mass or baptize babies. He wore a police officer’s uniform when he visited the jail to bring the sacraments to prisoners. He was willing to do anything to help people know that the Church loved and cared for them in Jesus’ name.
Miguel was arrested and charged with attempting to kill Mexico’s president. The charges were completely untrue, but the police wanted an excuse to be rid of this “problem” priest. Without a trial, Miguel was sentenced to death before a firing squad.
Miguel’s last words before stretching out his arms to die were, “Viva Cristo Rey!” which means, “Long live Christ the King!” He had blessed the soldiers and the executioners before he died.
Some 40,000 people attended his funeral. Father Miguel Pro spent his life serving Jesus. Pope John Paul II beatified him in Mexico in 1988.
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Grade 5, chapter 23
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