Steven and I attended ten o’clock Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Taft, TX.
On December 4, 2012, Grand Knight of Council 15512, Herman Rodriguez, extended an invitation to all fourth-degree Knights of Columbus within the diocese to assist at the presentation and veneration of the first-class relic of Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río (Joselito) on the eighty-fifth anniversary of his death, February 10, 2013.
Although Steven and I had learned about the persecution of priests in Mexico from a Franciscan at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Hebbronville, TX, we’d never heard of Joselito until we viewed For Greater Glory (2012) last year.
Sympathetic to Joselito’s story and very much interested in his relic, Steven responded right away.
My wife and I will be delighted to attend the ceremony, and I’ll be falling out in full regalia with you. It will be an honor.
We’d awaited our first visit to Taft with great anticipation. What excitement to finally see the church, show support for the parish, and enjoy the festivities. Parishioners were welcoming, everyone was cordial, and Father Lopez was everywhere all at once. Mass was standing room only, and most in attendance took part in the solemn procession.
I’d been anxious about barking dogs running out onto the streets as we circled the block, but the neighborhood was so peaceful that we were able to focus on the rosary before returning to church for the icing on the cake.
Spending quality time one-on-one with Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río through his precious relic was very special, so no one rushed. Some sat as others waited their turn in line. Some observed while others quietly conversed. Father Ed Roche sang to a child before reminiscing with us about Father Mike Jordan, a fellow SOLT, in heaven since July 2012. Yet the smiles on the two Dominicans, Sisters Patricia and Elena whom we met before leaving church, reflected our collective joy most of all.
As Steven and I talked about the celebration on our drive home, he chuckled. “I’m in awe of the Knights. I don’t know how they got the neighbors to keep their pets quiet and out of sight, but they pulled it off! Simply amazing.”
Honoring Joselito, thanks to the concerted efforts of the Immaculate Conception Church community, was a momentous occasion that we were blessed to have experienced.
Devotion… I do not wish to fight, live, or die except for you, my Lord, and for your holy Church. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, be at my side in the agony of this poor sinner. Grant that my last shout on earth and my first canticle in heaven be ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Petition… Blessed José Luis, watch over, defend and protect all of the children whose innocence is threatened from all sides by evil, direct their hearts to all that is good and holy, and instill in their hearts a living faith and confidence in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, our King and Lord. Amen.
St. Pio of Pietrelcina… O Lord, we ask for a boundless confidence and trust in your divine mercy and [for] the courage to accept the crosses and sufferings which bring immense goodness to our souls and that of your Church.
Help us to love you with a pure and contrite heart and to humble ourselves beneath your cross as we climb the mountain of holiness, carrying our cross that leads to heavenly glory.
May we receive you with great faith and love in Holy Communion and allow you to act in us as you desire for your greater glory.
O Jesus, most adorable heart and eternal fountain of divine love, may our prayer find favor before the Divine Majesty.
To Mary, help of Christians… Most holy and immaculate Virgin, help of Christians, mother of the Church, we place ourselves under your motherly protection. We promise to be faithful to our Christian vocation and to work for the greater glory of God and the salvation of our souls and those entrusted to us.
You were St. John Bosco’s teacher. Show us how to imitate his virtues, especially his union with God; his chastity, humility, and poverty; his love for work and temperance; his goodness and total giving of self to others; and his loyalty to the Holy Father and the Church.
Grant, O Mary, help of Christians, the graces which we need (mention here). May we serve God with fidelity and generosity until death. Help us and our dear ones to attain the boundless joy of being forever with our Father in heaven. Amen.
To St. John Bosco… In need of special help I appeal with confidence to you, O St. John Bosco, for I require not only spiritual graces, but also temporal ones, particularly (state here).
You had such great devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary, help of Christians, and always had compassion for those who were in suffering. Please obtain from Jesus and his heavenly mother the grace I now request, as well as a sincere resignation to the will of God.
Our Father…. Hail Mary…. Glory be….
To St. Thérèse… O little Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who during your short life became a mirror of angelic purity, love of God, and wholehearted abandonment to his will, plead my case before his holy throne now that you possess the Lord you so deeply loved.
Make my troubles your own. You promised to spend your heaven doing good on earth. Intercede for me in my hour of need (mention grace desired), if it is for the greater glory of God and the good of my soul.
Dear Little Flower, obtain for me the blessing that I may have strength in the trials of life and be defended at the hour of my death. Lead me to a happy eternity. Amen.
May 21, 2014
I am innocent, and I die innocent. I forgive with all my heart those responsible for my death, and I ask God that the shedding of my blood serve the peace of our divided Mexico (St. Christopher Magallanes).
June 3, 2014
Martyrs of Uganda, pray for the faith where it is in danger and for Christians who must suffer because of their faith. Give them the same courage, zeal, and joy you showed. And help those of us who live in places where Christianity is accepted to remain aware of the persecution in other parts of the world. Amen.
June 28, 2014
For the Church the martyrs have always been a seed of life…. By their example they have shown us and made smooth for us, so to speak, the path to the future (St. John Paul II).
June 30, 2014
Around these men with their holy lives, there are gathered a great throng of the elect who, though victims of jealousy, gave us the finest example of endurance in the midst of many indignities and tortures…. But they courageously finished the course of faith and despite their bodily weakness won a noble prize (Pope St. Clement I about the first martyrs).
August 31, 2014
Time is but a period. It passes like the lightning flash. Suffering passes with time; suffering, then, is very short (Venerable Bartholomew of Martyrs).
September 2, 2014
“Remember that knowledge without morals is the soul’s ruination” (St. John Bosco).
September 20, 2014
There is no place for selfishness— and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice (Pope St. John Paul II).
October 25, 2014
The martyrs gave up all they had, even life itself, to keep their faith in God. And I? Do my words and deeds reflect my faith, even when little difficulties come up? (Daughters of St. Paul).
October 26, 2014
Christ should reign first and foremost in our soul. But how would we reply if he asked us: “How do you go about letting me reign in you?” I would reply that I need lots of his grace. Only that way can my every heartbeat and breath, my least intense look, my most ordinary word, my most basic feeling be transformed into a hosanna to Christ my king (St. Josemaría Escrivá).
November 6, 2014
Does our life become from day to day more painful, more oppressive, more replete with sufferings? Blessed be [God] a thousand times who desires it so. If life be harder, love makes it also stronger; and only this love, grounded on suffering, can carry the Cross of my Lord, Jesus Christ (Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro).
November 22, 2014
Arise, soldiers of Christ. Throw away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light (St. Cecilia).
November 26, 2014
Not all of us are called to undergo martyrdom, but we are all called to a life of Christian virtue. Now virtue demands courage…. It demands from us daily, assiduous, unremitting effort to our very last breath; and so it can be called a slow and continuous martyrdom (Pope Pius XII).
January 21, 2015
“Christ will guard his own” (St. Agnes).
January 26, 2015
Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
January 31, 2015
What tenderness there is in Jesus’ love for man! In his infinite goodness he established, with each of us, bonds of sublime love! His love has no limits! (St. John Bosco).
“Trust all things to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary, help of Christians; and you will see what miracles are” (St. John Bosco).
February 5, 2015
Not only does the shedding of blood constitute martyrdom, but the perfect service of a soul devoted to the Lord is a daily martyrdom” (St. Jerome).
February 6, 2015
After Christ’s example, I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow-men as a fruitful rain (St. Paul Miki).
February 9, 2015
I give myself completely to Jesus so that he can use me just as he wishes. I want every word I write, everything I read, everything I do at my desk, and all my work in school to be done for the glory of God (St. Miguel Febres Cordero).
February 26, 2015
Bear patiently the bad temper of other people, the slights, the rudeness that may be offered you…. When you are weary, don’t give way to bad temper yourself. Bear any illness with resignation, even thanksgiving, to God in your heart (St. John Bosco).
May 12, 2015
“It is not the torture, but the cause, that makes the martyr” (St. Augustine of Hippo).
June 21, 2015
“There is no more evident sign that anyone is a saint and of the number of the elect than to see him leading a good life and at the same time a prey to desolation, suffering, and trials” (St. Aloysius Gonzaga).
December 26, 2015
The Church sees in the sacrifice of the martyrs their birth into heaven. Therefore, today we celebrate the birth of Stephen, which in its depths springs from the birth of Christ. Jesus transforms the death of those who love him into a dawn of new life! (Pope Francis).
January 20, 2016
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” (Tertullian).
July 6, 2016
Because the martyrs were devout men and women, fire, flame, wheel, and sword seemed to be flowers and perfume to them. If devotion can sweeten the most cruel torments and even death itself, what must it do for virtuous actions? (St. Francis de Sales).
December 26, 2016
“The love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven” (St. Fulgentius of Ruspe).
Stephen prayed for his persecutors, who had not been able even to listen to the name of Christ, when he said of those very men by whom he was being stoned: “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” And we see the result of this prayer in the case of the apostle, for Paul, who kept the garments of those who were stoning Stephen, not long after became an apostle by the grace of God, having before been a persecutor (St. Ambrose).
January 31, 2017
All for God and for his glory. In whatever you do, think of the glory of God as your main goal (St. John Bosco).
Links of interest… Biographies of new Blesseds (2005)… Blessed Anacleto González Flores… Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río: about / beatification / biography / blessed / facebook / feast / martyr / martyrdom / memorial / patron (ECyD) / pray for / sainthood (16 Oct 2016) / story… Catholic martyrs: 20th century… Christian martyrs (more)… Cristero War (La Cristiada)… Exposition of relics… Five saints whose patronage came from the way they died… For Greater Glory (background)… Fr. Robert Barron: redemptive suffering… Immaculate Conception Church: diocese page / facebook / parish… Mexican martyr’s miracle helped save hometown girl… Mexico: forgotten pain / government versus the Catholic Church / lessons taught / of saints & sinners / persecution of Christians… Sacred relics… Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Knights of Columbus, & martyrs… St. John Bosco: conquering souls for Christ / memorial / supernatural visit… St. Thomas More: A saint for the persecuted church… Ten inspiring quotes from St. Irenaeus… Treasures of the Church: about relics (video) / expositions / healing / prayer requests… What the blood of the martyrs means for us… the Word among us…
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