Blessed José Sanchez Del Rio
Sahuayo, Mexico, March 28 1913 – February 10, 1928
José Luis Sanchez Del Rio was born in Sahuayo, Michoacan (Mexico), March 28 1913 by parents Macario Sánchez, María del Río. Visiting the tomb of the blessed martyr Anacleto González Flores, he asked God to die in defense of the faith. Just fourteen, José Luis was murdered February 10, 1928, during the religious persecution in Mexico, as belonging to the Cristeros, a large Catholic group that was opposed to the oppression of President Plutarco Elías Calles regime.
One year before the martyrdom of José Luis, he had joined the Cristeras of General Prudencio Mendoza, whose base was at the village of Cotija. The tragic event attended by two children, respectively, seven and nine years, which in future would religious congregations. One of them was Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, born in Cotija, which in the interview-book “Mi Vida es Cristo” ( “My life is Christ”) revealed the decisive role for his vocation was witnessing the death of martyred little friend. “He was arrested by the forces of government, which wanted to give an exemplary punishment on the civilian population that supported the Cristeros” said the founder who was just seven years old at the time. “They asked him to renounce his faith in Christ under the threat of the death penalty. José did not accept apostasy. His mother was torn from the penalty and by anxiety, but his son said. Then they peeled the soles of the feet and the obligation to walk in the country, on the road to the cemetery. He cried and moaned in pain, but not sold. From time to time he stopped and said: If you shout, ‘Christ the King dies’ it will save lives. Tell them ‘Christ the King will die’. But he replied: ‘Long live Christ the King’. Reaching the cemetery, before he was shot, they asked him for the last time if he wanted to deny his faith. And he did not so they killed him right there. He died then by shouting, like many other Mexican martyrs: ‘Christ the King lives!’. These are indelible images from my memory and the memory of the Mexican people, although there is no mention of them in official history. “
The other eyewitness was a child of nine years, Enrique Amezcua Medina, who later founded the Priestly Confraternity of Workers of the Kingdom of Christ, now present in both houses of formation in Mexico, Spain and several other countries around the world. In the biography of the Brotherhood he founded, Father Amezcua remembered his providential meeting with José Luis Sanchez Del Rio. As stated in that testimony, he knew the child martyr which proved decisive for his choice of priests. He then created the “Seminary of Christ the King” on Salvatierra for the Training of Workers, whose internship was dedicated to “José Luis”. The mortal remains of José Luis Sanchez Del Rio, still resting in the church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in his hometown, became a pilgrimage site.
The martyrdom of the victims of religious persecution caused by the new Mexican Constitution of 1917, was approved on June 22, 2004 by Pope John Paul II and he was beatified on November 20, 2005, under Pope Benedict XVI, with the ceremony presided by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints Cardinal José Saraiva Martins in Guadalajara in Mexico.
Author: Fabio Arduino
SOURCE: Santi e Beati