Blessed Pablo Meléndez Gonzalo
Valencia, Spain, November 7, 1876 – Castellar, Spain, December 23, 1936
Roman Martyrology: In the land of Valencia in Spain, Gonzalo Meléndez Paul, martyr, that father during the persecution of religion, uniform throughout the example of Christ, for his grace he reached the eternal kingdom.
With the beatification, in the last two decades of almost a thousand martyrs of Spanish Civil War, it can be said that every job category is now officially represented in paradise. Laypeople, with the vast majority coming from the ranks of Catholic Action, are in fact so significantly represented among the hundreds of blessed among bishops, priests and religious, to be able to offer all workers a model and a contemporary protector. This week, for example, we want to bring to the fore a lawyer whose life is exemplary enough to redeem the reputation of dell’Azzeccagarbugli Manzoniana memory, perhaps in the collective entry. How to say that his martyrdom was not improvised, but logical conclusion and worthy culmination of a life fully illuminated by faith. Born on November 7, 1876 in Valencia, son of a Civil Guard commander who left him an orphan at 14. In addition to need, felt obliged, as first among seven brothers and sisters, to take to load the family in the truest sense of the term he would be the babysitter, the accompanist, the companion game, the teacher of all. While not neglecting his schooling, where, in fact, he graduated with honorable mention. Assume that, so intelligent and equipped, he decided to continue his studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Valencia, graduating with honors and winning, moreover, a special prize as best student of law in all of Spain.
His religiosity of it strengthened and consolidated the youth through Catholic Action, which formed him and prepared him to occupy a Christian his place in society. His companions remember that it is his habit to study before the crucifix or a religious picture, as if to receive from these symbols motivation and momentum in the study. He began studying law and immediately was appreciated for his seriousness, honesty and moral straightness. The work did not prevent him from devoting time and energy to works of charity, religious practices and theapostolate. There he was, therefore, active and tireless, working for the poor of San Vincenzo; he normally attended Mass and received communion,a daily practice to which he would remain faithful for life; he animated groups of Catholics throughout the diocese, by Workmen Catholics, the Men of Catholic Action. He speoke well and happy to hear, is so consistent in everyday life that he is also credible. He was married in 1904 to Dolores, a girl who shared his ideals and his strong spirituality and it was a marriage blessed by ten children.
In 1936, when the Spanish Civil War reaches the summit of the violence taking the features of a proper religious persecution, the lawyer who “smelled of incense too” is now a target: he, imperturbable, continued his activities with his usual commitment, with his usual serenity. Indeed, he become the bishop’s advocate, a position that many had refused for fear of too much exposure. Rejecting any advice to moderate his commitment and to limit his apostolate, and to hide: he was not afraid and simultaneously did not want to abandon his son Carlo, who was seriously ill. His arrest on October 25, along with his son Alberto, and in the courts, asked if he was Catholic, responded with pride “Apostolic and Roman Catholic.” He bore his imprisonment with serenity, facing torture with extreme dignity, until a few days before Christmas. His were told of his imminent release from prison but on Christmas Eve, one of them discovered, the corpses of her father and brother among the bodies piled in the cemetery in Valencia: shot like the others, maybe that same day, maybe the day before, and then finished with a blow to the neck. Why are they “too Catholic” because they were not able to bend in his desire to remain “faithful to God, the Church and the homeland?” The Church has recognized authentic martyrdom death of Paul Gonzalo Meléndez and John Paul II beatified him on March 11, 2001.
Author: Gianpiero Pettiti
SOURCE: Santi e Beati