As the Synod of Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment takes place in Rome, a new chapel dedicated to St. José Sánchez del Río, a 14-year-old boy who died defending the Catholic faith following in the footsteps of his two older brothers during the Cristero War in Mexico, will be open through November 10, 2018 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels during Cathedral hours of operations.
“San José Sánchez del Río is a true example to all, but especially to our young people, of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus,” said Fr. David Gallardo, Cathedral’s pastor. “During a time of religious persecution in Mexico he professed his love for Jesus by defending the Church he loved. Despite the fact that many were being persecuted and killed for their faith he never renounced his faith or love for God. I pray that all who visit this chapel will be blessed with the same Spirit that enabled him to remain faithful to the Lord. Like San Joselito, may we never grow weary of proclaiming VIVA CRISTO REY!”
“Do not let me lose the opportunity to gain Heaven so easily and so soon,” the young José told his mother when she objected him joining the Cristeros. The Cristero War, also known as La Cristiada, was a struggle in many central-western Mexican states against the anti-Catholic and anti-clerical policies of the Mexican government in the 1920s.
On February 5, 1928, just shy of his 15th birthday, José was captured during a battle and imprisoned in the sacristy of the church in which he had been baptized, where soldiers made him watch the hanging of one of the Cristeros.
With great courage, José told the dying martyr, “You will be in heaven before me. Prepare a place for me. Tell Christ the King that I shall be with him soon.” Five days later, he was tortured and shot in the head by the military.
St. José Sánchez del Río was beatified on November 20, 2005 and canonized by Pope Francis on October 16, 2016.
The chapel at Cathedral includes a tiny part of his clavicle, donated by the Apostle James Parish in Sahuayo Michoacan, where his relic is venerated by many, along with a painting of St. Jose and a letter he wrote to his mother while imprisoned.
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