It seems appropriate. After all, this morning in Adoration as I was praying the Liturgy of the Hours, I realized it was the feast of Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, one of the martyrs of Mexico’s famous Cristero War in the late 1920s.
More than 90,000 people died in this war, perhaps the most severe persecution of Catholicism in modern times. (Check out the movie “For Greater Glory”, which was about this war.)
I was a Protestant missionary in Fresnillo, Zacatecas, in the mid-1990s. And one of the things I noticed was I never saw Catholic priests wearing their collars in public. I’d no idea it was outlawed by the Mexican Constitution back in 1917. (I believe that restriction, along with many others, was finally lifted in 1992. But old habits die hard.)
Anyway, when praying my Magnificat this morning, I read that Blessed Miguel Pro was from Guadalupe, Zacatecas, about an hour from where I lived and worked as a missionary. At that point I chuckled inwardly. Why? Again, it just seems appropriate since he’s on the itinerary of my upcoming pilgrimage to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
If you’ve ever heard me talk about my conversion, you know that I had a terrible time with Mary. She was so foreign to the way I was raised. I considered any veneration of Mary to be flat out idolatry. That’s all changed. I fall more in love with her every day. In fact, I really believe Marian devotion is a key to deep spiritual growth. You can’t get intimately close to Jesus without getting close to His Mother.
So I’m leading a St. Paul Center pilgrimage to visit her in sunny Mexico this coming February (when everyone else is shivering), and I’m inviting you to come along.
Check out the little video I put together about an amazing trip I’m leading to visit and pray at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the tomb of Blessed Miguel Pro, and a host of other incredible places. It’s going an incredible time of spiritual growth and joyful celebration of Mary, the most amazing woman who ever lived!
For details on the pilgrimage click here.