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February 11

St Pedro de Jesus Maldonado-Lucerno - Feb 11

Saint Pedro de Jesús Maldonado-Lucero

Priest, Martyr

(1892 – 1937)

“Long Live Christ The King.

Saint Pedro de Jesus Maldonado-Lucerno’s response under gunpoint when requested by soldiers to say “long live the Government.”

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life 

Pedro de Jesús Maldonado-Lucerno was born on June 15, 1892, in a neighborhood of Chihuáhua City, Chihuáhua, Mexico known as San Nicolás. He was one of seven children of Apolinar Maldonado and Micaela Lucero.

Entered Diocesan Seminary

When Pedro was 17 years old, he entered the diocesan seminary, where he was known for his piety. In 1914, the seminary was shut down due to the revolution and many seminarians fled to El Paso, Texas, but Pedro remained in Chihuahua and studied music. Later, he continued his religious studies in El Paso.

Ordained

Pedro was ordained a priest on January 25, 1918, in the Cathedral of St. Patrick for the Archdiocese of Chihuahua, Mexico by Bishop Anthony Joseph Schuler, S.J, Bishop of El Paso. 

First Mass in El Paso, Texas

Although Pedro celebrated his first Masses in El Paso, his first Solemn Mass was in the Church of the Holy Family in Chihuahua on February 11, 1918. Pedro was assigned to San Nicolás de Carretas, where he worked with the Tarahumara Natives. Pedro helped the poor with money and clothing. He also raised and educated a poor orphan. He took a special interest in religious education, explaining Catholic doctrine through the use of photographs. Farmers would ask him to bless the fields.

Parish Priest During Cristero War

In January 1924, Maldonado became parish priest of Santa Isabel, where he had charge of the Sunday School. During the Cristero War (1926–29), Pedro and other priests in Chihuahua were the targets of anti-Catholic violence, which continued for many years after. Revolutionaries changed the name of the town from Santa Isabel to “General Trias” as part of an effort to erase references to Catholicism from the state. At one point Pedro had to flee to El Paso, but was eventually returned to Boquilla del Río, not far from Santa Isabel, where continued to carry out his ministry.

Faithful Until His Death

On February 10, 1937 (Ash Wednesday), a group of drunken armed men discovered his location and came into his church, threatening to arrest him. Pedro quickly grabbed the church’s pyx of consecrated hosts before the thugs pushed him out into the street. He was dragged by the hair to the region’s political leader, Andrés Rivera, who hit the priest so hard on the head with his pistol that he damaged his skull and eye. The gang began beating Father Pedro, but the priest held his pyx tightly — until a direct blow knocked it loose. The hosts spilled on the ground, and one of the thugs shoved them into the priest’s mouth, sneering, “Eat this! Your last Communion.” Pedro did just that.

Seeing the seriousness of Pedro’s injuries, some local women asked that he be allowed to be taken to a hospital in Chihuahua City, where he died on February 11, 1937 (the 19th anniversary of his first Solemn Mass), from severe brian trauma and injuries throughout his body caused by the beating. Pedro died at the age of 44.

His Martyrdom

Pedro was a martyr because he had been killed because of his faithfulness in carrying out his ministry and because of hatred toward his faith. After his death, Pedro’s tomb became a place of prayer, surrounded by candles, flowers, and votive offerings. As part of the twenty-five martyrs designated “Cristóbal Magallanes Jara and companions”, he is commemorated on May 21. He is among the six priests of that group who were also members of the Knights of Columbus, and is considered a patron of that organization.

Beatified:           November 22, 1992 by Pope John Paul II

Canonized:        May 21, 2000 by Pope John Paul II

Feast Day:         February 11

Patron Saint:    Archdiocese of Chihuáhua, Mexico; Diocese of El Paso, Texas; Knights of Columbus

Sources:

Reflection

Saint Pedro continued to praise Jesus even with a gun pointed to your head. He faithfully responded “Long Live Christ the King” instead of “Long Live the Government.” There are still many places throughout the world where this threat still exists even now. Hopefully, you are never put in that dangerous situation where you are threatened by stating your faith in Jesus. 

How strong is your faith? You can always ask God for the grace, wisdom and strength to maintain your faith and do his will wherever you live.

Prayers

Saint Pedro de Jesús Maldonado-Lucerno, you always kept Christ’s love burning in your heart in your aid to the poor Tarahumara Natives with money and clothes as well as teaching them Christian doctrine. May you intercede for use as we try to keep Christ’s love burning in our heart each day in every small gesture and act of kindness that we do for those we encounter around us in our daily life.

Saint Pedro de Jesús Maldonado-Lucerno, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – They died for the Eucharist. Would you?

Catholic Online – Relics of Six Mexican Saints to Visit New Mexico May 20-21

CatholicSaints.Info – St. Pedro de Jesús Maldonado Lucero

Catholic Sun – Feast of St. Pedro Maldonado

Knights of Columbus – St. Pedro de Jesús Maldonado Lucero

Vatican News – Pedro de Jesús Maldonado Lucero

Wikipedia – Peter of Jesus Maldonado 

Video Link

St. Maldonado Relic Carried Across The Border – YouTube (Knights of Columbus)