Relics of six canonized priests martyred in Mexico went on display in Houston on Friday, beginning a tour of several U.S. cities.
“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,” Supreme Knight of Columbus Carl Anderson said April 27.
“It is a timely reminder that, from ancient Rome to 1920s Mexico to today, persecution does not stifle the faith, but emboldens it.”
The relics are from Fathers Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero, Miguel de la Mora de la Mora, Jose Maria Robles Hurtado, Luis Batiz Sainz, Rodrigo Aguilar Aleman, and Mateo Correa Magallanes.
The Mexican government under President Plutarco Elas Calles martyred them for their faith and Pope John Paul II canonized them in the year 2000.
All six were members of the Knights of Columbus, an international Catholic fraternal order which has grown to 1.8 million members.
The Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston is hosting the relics from April 27-29. They will be available for veneration during the regularly scheduled weekend Masses. The display of the relics opened with a special Mass Friday evening for the Knights of Columbus Texas State Convention.
The relic tour will also visit Phoenix, Tucson, Los Angeles, San Antonio and New York, Knights spokesman Andrew Walther told EWTN News April 27.
During the Mexican persecution, the Knights of Columbus assisted Catholics with humanitarian relief. The Catholic fraternal order also educated the American public about the situation in Mexico. In 1926 a delegation of knights met with President Calvin Coolidge to discuss how the U.S. government could encourage the Mexican government to end the persecution.
A number of American groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, supported the Calles government. However, the work of the Knights of Columbus and others led to the U.S. government’s brokerage of an agreement between the Mexican government and the Catholic Church to end the worst of the persecution.
A new movie to be released June 1, “For Greater Glory,” dramatizes the history of the persecution. Its actors include stars like Andy Garcia, Peter O’Toole and Eva Longoria.
Anderson said that for many years the history of the conflict has been “all but forgotten on both sides of the border.”
“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.”
The relics will tour through Phoenix, Tucson, Los Angeles and New York City before their final stop in San Antonio the first week of June. Two other cities have expressed interest in hosting the relics, Andrew Walther, vice president of communications for the Knights of Columbus, told EWTN News April 28.
More information will be available on the Knights of Columbus website at www.kofc.org.