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May 21

The month of Mary: A Marian Month

Saint of the day:

Saint Cristóbal Magallanes and Companions

Saint Cristóbal Magallanes Jara's Story

also known as Christopher Magallanes is a martyr and saint venerated in the Catholic Church who was killed without trial on the way to say Mass during the Cristero War after the trumped up charge of inciting rebellion.

Today, May 21, we celebrate the feast days of 25 Mexican Martyrs who died during the Mexican Cristero War, and were canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 21, 2000. The Cristero War (also known as the Cristiada) occurred throughout Mexico between the years of 1926 and 1929, and consisted of an uprising against the Mexican government of the time, set off by religious persecution of Catholics and Catholic religious. While the rebellion started out peacefully, following increasing fines, restrictions, and persecution and martyrdom of priests, things became more deadly. The rebels began calling themselves Cristeros because they felt they were fighting for Christ himself. 

Initially, written into governmental law, specific prohibitions were declared in regards to organized religion. For example, wearing clerical garb in public (i.e., outside Church buildings) earned a fine of 500 pesos (approximately 250 U.S. dollars at the time); a priest who criticized the government could be imprisoned for five years. Some states enacted oppressive measures permitting only a single priest to serve the entire Catholic congregation of the state. Church property was seized, foreign priests were expelled, and all monasteries, convents, and religious schools were closed



After formal rebellion began, fighting ensued for approximately two years, until diplomatic relations and pressure from outside countries led to an uneasy truce between the Cristeros and the Mexican government. In the years following the establishment of truce, however, the government continued to assassinate religious leaders and suspected members of the rebellion, killing approximately 5,500 individuals over a ten year period. Persecution of Catholics would not cease until approximately 1940, with the election of a Catholic president. The effects of the war on the Church had been profound. Between 1926 and 1934 at least 40 priests were killed. Where there were 4,500 priests serving the people before the rebellion, in 1934 there were only 334 priests licensed by the government to serve fifteen million people. The rest had been eliminated by emigration, expulsion and assassination. By 1935, 17 states had no priest at all.


The Cristeros battle hymn, called upon Jesus, Mary, and the saints in protection.

La Virgen María es nuestra protectora y nuestra defensora cuando hay que temer, 
Vencerá a los demonios gritando "¡Viva Cristo Rey!", 
Vencerá a los demonios gritando "¡Viva Cristo Rey!" 
Soldados de Cristo: ¡Sigamos la bandera que la Cruz enseña el ejército de Dios! 
Sigamos la bandera gritando, "¡Viva Cristo Rey!" 

The Virgin Mary is our protector and defender when there is something to fear, 
She will defeat the demons crying "Long live Christ the King!" 
She will defeat the demons crying "Long live Christ the King!" 
Soldiers of Christ let us follow the flag that the Cross shows the army of God! 
Let us follow the flag crying, "Long live Christ the King!" 

Special groups of Cristeros aligned themselves with the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe and other specific saints, like Saint Joan of Arc (adopted as patron by the first all-female unit of Cristeros).



Among these many holy men and women who died was Father Cristobal Magallanes Jara (1869-1927), canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000. Of him, the holy father said: “After the harsh trials that the Church endured in Mexico during those turbulent years, today Mexican Christians, encouraged by the witness of these witnesses to the faith, can live in peace and harmony, contribute the wealth of gospel values to society. The Church grows and advances, since she is the crucible in which many priestly and religious vocations are born, where families are formed according to God's plan, and where young people, a substantial part of the Mexican population, can grow with the hope of a better future. May the shining example of Cristóbal Magallanes and his companion martyrs help you to make a renewed commitment of fidelity to God, which can continue to transform Mexican society so that justice, fraternity and harmony will prevail among all.”


Cristobal grew up in rural Mexico, working as a shepherd. At age 19, he entered the Conciliar Seminary of San José in Guadalajara, and once ordained, became a parish priest in Jalisco. He founded a seminary, authored a newspaper, founded schools for both adults and children, and assisted the people of his congregation with employment via the organization of carpentry shops and an electric mill. Father Cristobal encouraged the cooperation of his congregation with the indigenous peoples of the region, together forming an agricultural cooperative which was quite successful.


Known for his devotion to Our Blessed Mother, Father Cristobal inspired those he came into contact with to greater holiness. During the height of the Cristero War, Cristobal established a clandestine seminary at Totatiche, Jalisco, gathering all displaced seminarians in one place, as all the other seminaries had been closed throughout the country. He continued to minister to his congregation, although he was forced to do so in secret, celebrating Mass secretly, reminiscent of Catholics in England, Japan, or China at various points throughout history. Father Cristobal, although it had been made illegal, continued to consecrate and distribute the Eucharist, as well as baptize the faithful into the Catholic church. Despite his preaching against violence, he was arrested on his way to a local farm to celebrate Mass. Without trial, he was shot and killed, following his request to distribute his possessions to the poor, and his general absolution of his would-be executioners. His last words were: “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 serves toward the peace of our divided Mexico.”

While the 25 martyrs canonized by Pope John Paul II all died during the Cristero War, they did not die together. Rather, their deaths were spread throughout the states of Mexico—all for pledging their allegiance to the Lord, and continuing to live and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. Of the martyrs, all were priests, with the exception of three who were laity who served and died alongside their parish priests.

A list of the 24 Mexican martyrs of the Cristero War cannonized with Saint Cristobal Magallanes Jara:

  1. Saint Agustin Caloca (priest, seminary prefect, shot to death in 1927)

  2. Saint Atilano Cruz Alvarado (parish priest, shot to death in 1928)

  3. Saint David Galvan Bermudez (priest, seminary instructor, shot by firing squad in 1915)

  4. Saint David Roldan Lara (layman, officer of “Catholic Action” and a religious liberty league, shot to death in 1926)

  5. Saint David Uribe Velasco (parish priest, shot to death in 1927)

  6. Saint Jenaro Sanchez Delgadillo (parish priest, hanged from a tree in 1927)

  7. Saint Jesus Mendez Montoya (parish priest, shot to death in 1928)

  8. Saint Jose Isabel Flores Varela (parish priest, tortured, throat cut in 1927)

  9. Saint Jose Maria Robles Hurtado (parish priest, founded women’s Congregation of Victims of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, hanged in 1927)

  10. Saint Julio Alvarez Mendoza (priest, shot to death in 1927)

  11. Saint Justino Orona Madrigal (parish priest, founded Poor Clare Sisters of the Sacred Heart, shot to death in 1928)

  12. Saint Luis Batiz Sainz (parish priest, seminary’s spiritual director, shot by firing squad in 1926) Reported to have said prior to his death, "Lord, I want to be a martyr; though I am your unworthy minister, I want to shed my blood, drop by drop, for your name."

  13. Saint Manuel Morales (layman, father of three, officer of “Catholic Action” and a religious liberty league, shot to death in 1926)

  14. Saint Margarito Flores Garcia (parish priest, shot to death in 1927)​

  15. Saint Mateo Correa Magallanes (parish priest, shot to death in 1927)

  16. Saint Miguel de la Mora (priest, shot by firing squad in 1927)​

  17. Saint Pedro Esqueda Ramirez (parish priest, catechist of children, shot to death in 1927)​

  18. Saint Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero (parish priest, promoter of nocturnal adoracion, blinded and beaten to death in 1937)​

  19. Saint Rodrigo Aguilar Aleman (parish priest, poet, hanged in 1927)​

  20. Saint Roman Adame Rosales (parish priest, founded Daughters of Mary of Nocturnal Adoration, shot to death in 1927)

  21. Saint Sabas Reyes Salazar (Parish priest, tortured and shot to death in 1927)

  22. Saint Salvador Lara Puente (layman, officer of “Catholic Action” and a religious liberty league, shot to death at age 21 in 1926)​

  23. Saint Toribio Romo Gonzalez (parish priest, shot to death at age 27 in 1928)

  24. Saint Tranquilino Ubiarco (parish priest, hanged at age 28 in 1928)



The lives of those who have died for their faith remind us that there exist even today those who are persecuted for what they believe. Many of us chose to keep our faith quiet, as we are uncomfortable with questions we are asked, glances we receive, or verbal attacks. The holy men and women of Mexico risked much more than embarrassment and discomfort. They risked their lives in service of Our Lord and Savior. We are inspired, by their sacrifice, to live our faiths more deeply, more visibly, more loudly.










Guadalajara Cathedral

Av. Fray Antonio Alcalde 10, Zona Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico

The brotherhood of "Knights of Columbus" informed through its lay coordinator Mr. Jorge Araujo Contreras; that the Reliquary of the Holy Martyrs Mexicans will be touring our Archdiocese, starting on Monday, July 9. "... the Relics of the Holy Mexican Martyrs will pass through our lands, which is why we are full of joy." With this event we will have the great opportunity to venerate them, even though their stay in our local Church is very brief, since their final destination is The neighboring country of the north, on the other hand, among the parishes that have visited and will visit the reliquary are: San Antonio de Padua in Vicente Guerrero, Durango and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Villa Union Durango, (both communities belonging to the dean of Nueva Vizcaya) Our Lady of the Angels and Cathedral in the capital city, among others, will also visit the Heroic Fire Department and at night, at 8:30 p.m., the Holy Rosary will be prayed at the facilities of Council 2367 of the Knights. of Columbus. " This special reliquary was made on behalf of the Knights of Columbus movement at the national level. It contains relics of 25 saints and 13 blesseds, including six saints and three blessed members of the brotherhood, who were martyred during the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico in the 1920s. At the bottom of the reliquary the phrase is read in Latin "Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat" (Christ wins, Christ reigns, Christ reigns).



What to eat today:

During the festa in San Rafael tacos, enchiladas, rompope, churros are enjoyed!


For the cake:
  • 10 tablespoons butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 egg, room temperature

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk


  • 1 cup cajeta or caramel sauce

For the flan:
  • One 12-ounce can evaporated milk

  • One 14-ounce can sweetened
    condensed milk

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For garnish:
  • 1/4 cup cajeta or caramel sauce


  1. Special equipment: 12-cup capacity Bundt pan

  2. Put an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. 

  3. Coat a Bundt pan with a little butter, then coat the bottom with 1/4 cup cajeta and put it in a large roasting pan. (The roasting pan will serve as a water bath during baking.) 

  4. For the cake: Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, beat until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa in a medium bowl. Beat 1/3 of the flour mixture, and 1/2 of the buttermilk into the egg mixture. Repeat, ending with the flour mixture. Blend until well incorporated. 

  5. For the flan: In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream cheese, eggs and vanilla. Blend on high for 30 seconds. 

  6. Just like a flan place about 1 cup of caramel sauce on the bottom of the bunt pan

  7. Scoop the cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan and spreading evenly. Slowly pour the flan mixture over the cake batter. Cover with foil and add about 1-inch of hot water to the roasting pan. 

  8. Carefully slide the pan into the oven, and bake 1 hour, until the surface of the cake is firm to the touch, or an inserted toothpick comes out clean. When cake is done, remove from the water bath and cool completely to room temperature, about 1 hour. 

  9. Invert a large, rimmed serving platter over the Bundt pan, grasp tightly together, jiggle a little and flip over. Remove the pan and scrape any remaining cajeta from the pan onto the cake, garnish with chopped pecans and serve!


Cook's Note

The batters may appear to mix when you pour them into the pan, but they completely separate while baking, with the flan ending up on the bottom when it's inverted. I like eating it warm, but traditionally, it is chilled 24 hours before serving. Flan is a rich, creamy, cooked egg custard. It is often flavored with vanilla and baked in a water bath to retain its delicacy. Cajeta is a thick and creamy spread or paste made with caramelized sugar and milk. It is used as a desert on its own or as a topping. Also known as "dolce de leche," it is sold in many supermarkets, Latin specialty markets or online. It can be substituted with a thick caramel sauce.

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