November 22, 2016

Optional Memorial of Blessed Miguel Pro, Martyr

Blessed Father Pro praying for his executioners before his martyrdom.

José Ramón Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, also known as Blessed Miguel Pro, the eldest son of Miguel Pro and Josefa Juarez, was born in Guadalupe, Mexico, on January 12, 1891, into a wealthy family. His father was a mining executive in the state of Zacatecas. As a young boy, he was distinguished for his great sense of humor and personal piety. He wrote comics, played the guitar and was especially attuned to the poor. These qualities would help him immensely throughout his priestly ministry. Miguel was particularly close to his older sister, who joined a cloistered convent. This prompted him to discern his own calling to religious life.

He entered the Jesuit novitiate in El Llano, Michoacan at the age of 20, during the Mexican Revolution. Due to growing anti-Catholic sentiment, he fled to Belgium where, in 1925, he was ordained a priest. Father Pro suffered repeated bouts of acute stomach irritation and when, after several operations his health did not improve, in 1926, his superiors allowed him to return to Mexico in spite of the religious persecution there. He went back to his native homeland, knowing that the Church was being singled out and that he would be in mortal danger as the government continued its systematic campaign to abolish Catholicism.

Amid great difficulties Father Pro exercised his priesthood, wearing disguises in order to bring communion to the faithful and to avoid the police. He was known for celebrating Mass at places he had secretly set up. He would also show up in the middle of the night – dressed as a beggar or a street sweeper – to baptize infants, hear confessions, distribute Communion, or perform marriages. Several times, disguised as a policeman, he would slip unnoticed into the police headquarters to bring the sacraments to prisoners before their execution.

In 1927, he was falsely accused of conspiracy in an alleged attack on the Mexican dictator and was condemned to death. Before being shot, on November 23, 1927, Fr. Pro forgave his executioners. He died with his arms open shouting, "Viva Cristo Rey!" (Long live Christ the King!). He was beatified by Saint John Paul II on September 25, 1988. Almighty God and Father, who conferred upon your servant Blessed Migueal Agustin Pro the grace of ardently seeking your greater glory and the salvation of others, grant, through his intercession and example, that by faithfully and joyfully performing our daily duties and effectively assisting those around us, we may serve you with zeal and ever seek your glory.

1 comment :

Justina said...

Father Pro's courageous example should inspire us to stand up for religious freedom ourselves--but true religious freedom, not a spiritually poisonous indifferentism masquerading as a "human right." Religious freedom is freedom to worship the one true God in the way that He has revealed once and for all: in the Roman Catholic Church. As C.S. Lewis (the most Catholic Protestant of them all) put it: "Free, as a man is free to drink while he is drinking; he is not free still to be dry." ¡Viva Cristo Rey!