Relics of 6 Martyred Priests Tour US

Victims of Mexico's Cristero War Were Canonized in 2000

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HOUSTON, Texas, MAY 3, 2012 (Zenit.org).- A tour of the relics of six priests killed during Mexico's Cristero War in the 1920s began a tour of the United States, starting last weekend in Houston.

Pope John Paul II canonized the six martyrs with other victims of the Cristero War in 2000.

The tour began last Friday at the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, where the Knight of Columbus Texas state convention was under way. The priest-martyrs were members of the Knights of Columbus.

Fathers Pedro de Jesús Maldonado Lucero, Miguel de la Mora de la Mora, José María Robles Hurtado, Luis Batiz Sainz, Rodrigo Aguilar Aleman, and Mateo Correa Magallanes -- were all martyred for their faith by the Mexican government during the religious persecution in Mexico in the early 20th century.

The relics will also visit Phoenix and Tucson, in Arizona, and Los Angeles, California, as well as San Antonio, Texas.

"For many years, this period of history has been all but forgotten on both sides of the border," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. "This year, with the release of both a major motion picture and a book on this subject, the story of the struggle for religious freedom in Mexico will begin to be told. It is our hope that the pilgrimage of these relics will remind us all of the sacrifices made on behalf of religious liberty on this continent less than 100 years ago. It is a timely reminder that -- from ancient Rome to 1920s Mexico to today -- persecution does not stifle the faith, but emboldens it."

For Greater Glory -- a film being released in the United States June 1, and already finding huge success in Mexico -- takes the history of this period to the big screen with an all-star cast including Andy Garcia, Peter O'Toole and Eva Longoria.

Despite the support of the Mexican regime and its anti-Catholic policies by a number of American groups -- including the Ku Klux Klan -- pressure from the Knights of Columbus and others helped bring the persecution to an official end and, in 1929, the U.S. government helped broker an agreement between the Mexican government and the Catholic Church, ending the worst of the persecution.