Feast of St. Julio Alvarez Mendoza (March 30)   4 comments

Above:  Flag of Mexico (1916-1934)

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JULIO ALVAREZ MENDOZA (DECEMBER 20, 1866-MARCH 30, 1927)

Mexican Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1927

The suppression and oppression of religion in general and of the Roman Catholic Church, in particular, in Mexico, lasted from 1917 to 1944.  The roots of this policy were pre-revolutionary; the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Mexico had supported dictators.  (That is a recurring pattern around the world and over time.)  The Church was, therefore, politically suspect to the new regime, which had its own dictatorial tendencies.  The Mexican Revolution of 1917 instituted state control of religion.  The Church could not legally teach.  It could not legally comment on or lobby regarding any policy.  Religious orders and foreign clergymen were illegal.  Priests could neither vote nor hold public office.  Priests could not hold public office.  Priests could not legally wear clerical garb outside churches.  Tensions reached a new high during the Cristero War (1926-1929).

In recent decades the Roman Catholic Church has been adding Mexican martyrs (usually priests) from this period to its calendar of saints.

St. Julio Alvarez Mendoza was one of the martyred priests.  He, born on December 20, 1866, was a native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.  Our saint, ordained to the priesthood in 1894, served as one place–Mechoacanejo, Jalisco.  He was a dutiful, dedicated parish priest.  Mendoza, not content to restrict his priestly duties to the spaces between church building walls, visited those who refused to attend Mass.  In the 1920s, when government oppression became more severe, our saint went underground.  He celebrated Masses away from the church building, for example.  The Mexican Army averted Mendoza in March 1927; the charge was being a priest.  Our saint, shot to death, received the crown of martyrdom on March 30, 1927.  Soldiers left his corpse amid garbage near the building of the parish church he had served as a shepherd.

Pope John Paul II declared Mendoza a Venerable then beatified him in 1992.  The same Supreme Pontiff canonized our saint in 2000.

Two wrongs do not make a right.  Supporting a dictatorship is wrong.  So is executing priests for being priests.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 29, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LYDIA, DORCAS, AND PHOEBE, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Saint Julio Alvarez Mendoza

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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4 responses to “Feast of St. Julio Alvarez Mendoza (March 30)

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  1. What a commentary on the history of the church in Mexico! I had no idea! What a brave man he was to continue his work in spite of the persecution!

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