Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro
“¡Viva Cristo Rey!”—Long live Christ the King!—were the last words Pro uttered before he was executed for being a Catholic priest and serving his flock.
Born into a prosperous, devout family in Guadalupe de Zacatecas, Mexico, Miguel entered the Jesuits in 1911, but three years later fled to Granada, Spain, because of religious persecution in Mexico. He was ordained in Belgium in 1925.
Father Pro immediately returned to Mexico, where he served a Church forced to go “underground.” He celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and ministered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics.
He and his brother Roberto were arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to assassinate Mexico’s president. Roberto was spared, but Miguel was sentenced to face a firing squad on November 23, 1927. His funeral became a public demonstration of faith. Miguel Pro was beatified in 1988.
When Fr. Miguel Pro was executed in 1927, no one could have predicted that 52 years later the bishop of Rome would visit Mexico, be welcomed by its president, and celebrate open-air Masses before thousands of people. Pope John Paul II made additional trips to Mexico in 1990, 1993, 1999, and 2002. Those who outlawed the Catholic Church in Mexico did not count on the deeply rooted faith of its people, and the willingness of many of them, like Miguel Pro, to die as martyrs.