“¡Viva Cristo Rey!”
The man refused a blindfold as he stared down the barrels of several rifles pointing at him. He held in one hand, the rosary of Our Lady, in the other he held the crucifix given to him the day of his religious profession. “¡Viva Cristo Rey!”[Long live Christ the King!] he exclaimed boldly to his executioners as triggers were pulled and shots were fired. Miguel Pro fell dead to the ground. The day was November 23, 1927. He was a Catholic Priest. His crime was the proclamation of the Gospel and celebrating Holy Mass. Blessed Miguel Pro died, 91 years ago, almost to the day, a martyr for Jesus Christ in Mexico City.
It’s hard to believe that under 100 years ago men and women were being murdered on North American soil for their Catholic faith in Jesus Christ. Blessed Miguel was not alone. Others included Saints Christopher Magallanes, Augustin Caloca, and even St. José Luis Sánchez del Río who was only 14 years old, shot after being mercilessly tortured by his captors. The brave men along with several other brave men and women stood up against the secularist, anti-Catholic laws of President Pultarco Elias Calles who had outlawed public celebration of the sacraments and even forbade priests to wear clerical attire in public. Many of his anti-church laws remained in effect until the 1990s.
The example of these courageous men and women, in addition to the rise of movements like communism and fascism lead Pope Pius XI to establish the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe in 1925. With the rise of 20th century political powers, the Faithful needed to be reminded, that no matter who is head of state, Jesus Christ is king! As we live in a nation that is very divided along party lines, it is important for us to remember, that Christ alone his king of our hearts, and that he alone is the one after whom we shape our thoughts and points of view. So on this great feast, let us with great confidence feel free in all circumstances to look the world in the face and proclaim boldly “¡Viva Cristo Rey!”
-Fr. Casey F. Jones