In the 1920s, anti-Catholic government officials in Mexico instituted and enforced laws against the Church, in an attempt to eradicate the faith throughout the company. The government banned all foreign clergy members, and forbid the celebration of Mass in some areas.
St. Christopher Magallanes, 21 other priests, and three lay companions were martyred between 1915 and 1937. The government targeted them for their involvement in the Cristero movement, an uprising committed to defending and restoring the Catholic faith. Their motto was “Long live Christ the King and the Virgin of Guadalupe!”
Christopher built a seminary in Totatiche, where he and his companions secretly preached and ministered to local Catholics. Christopher’s last words after he was imprisoned are recorded as: “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 serve the peace of our divided Mexico.”
St. Pope John Paul II beatified the Cristero martyrs in 1992, and canonized them in 2000.