Father Luis Bátis Sáinz was a parish priest in the village of Chalchihuites, Zacatecas, and a member of Council 2367 in Durango. On Aug. 15, 1926, he and three laymen — David Roldán (who was only 19 years old), Salvador Lara and Manuel Morales — were lined up in front of a firing squad for having participated in meetings of different Catholic groups and for having violated the anti-Catholic legislation. When Father Luis Bátis asked for Manuel Morales’ freedom, explaining that he had children, Manuel interrupted, saying, “I am dying for God, and God will care for my children.” Smiling, Father Bátis absolved him and said, “I’ll see you in heaven.”
Father José María Robles Hurtado was a member of Council 1979 in Guadalajara, Jalisco. He was ordained a priest in 1913 and founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus when he was only 25 years old. On June 25, 1927, he was arrested as he prepared to celebrate Mass. The following morning, he was brought to an oak tree to be hanged, but before his executioners could carry out the sentence, he forgave them and said a prayer for his parish. He even approached a farmer he knew well, whosetask was to place the noose around Father José María’s neck. He told the farmer, “Friend, do not dirty yourself,” and, taking the noose, he placed it around his own neck. He was then executed.
Father Mateo Correa Magallanes, a member of Council 2140 in Zacatecas, was arrested and taken to Durango. While in prison, the general in charge ordered him on Feb. 5, 1927 to hear the other prisoners’ confessions. After doing so, the general ordered Father Mateo Correa to tell him what the prisoners had said during confession. Father Mateo Correa answered, “I’ll never do it!” When the infuriated general threatened to shoot him, Father Mateo Correa responded, “You forget, general, that a priest must keep the secrecy of confession. I am ready to die.” The next day, he was brought to Durango’s Panteón de Oriente and was killed in a hail of bullets.
Knights of Columbus Holy Martyrs Father Miguel de la Mora de la Mora was also a member of Council 2140 in Zacatecas. He had been the chaplain of the Cathedral of Colima since 1918. In 1926, along with other priests, he publicly signed a manifesto rejecting the anti-religious laws. The bishop and his priests were prosecuted and many were exiled. Others, like Father Miguel de la Mora, went underground in order to continue offering the sacraments. One day, he was discovered and arrested by a general. Intending to force him to reopen the cathedral under government control, the authorities freed him on bond. On Aug. 7, 1927, Father Miguel de la Mora was able to escape the city along with his brother, but when they passed through Carmona, a farmer recognized him, arrested him and returned to Colima. When the general found out, he ordered the priest’s execution, without trial. Praying with his rosary in hand, Father Miguel de la Mora was shot in the presence of his brother, whom the authorities then allowed to go free.
Father Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán was an interim parish priest in Unión de Tula and a member of Council 2330 in Ciudad Guzmán, Jalisco. He was wanted for arrest for being a priest and because of this left the village of Unión de Tula, taking refuge in Ejutla. On Oct. 27, 1927, some 600 federal soldiers captured the town. He was found giving a Latin exam to a seminarian, and although they attempted to flee, they were surrounded. When asked who he was, Father Rodrigo Aguilar responded, “I am a priest.” They arrested him and during the early morning hours of Oct. 28 and brought him to the plaza to be hanged. Underneath the mango tree from which he would eventually swing, he blessed the noose, forgave his executioners and gave his rosary to one of them. Putting him to the test, one of them offered not to hang him if he shouted, “Long live the supreme government!” He answered, “Long live Christ the King and Holy Mary of Guadalupe!” After pulling on the rope and lifting him into the air, they lowered him and asked, “Who lives?” “Christ the King and Holy Mary of Guadalupe!” he responded. Again he was raised and lowered. “Who lives?” they asked, with crude taunts. In agony, he said firmly, “Christ the King and Holy Mary of Guadalupe!” Once again he was raised up, this time to heaven. The silver reliquary contains the relics of the six Knights of Columbus priest martyrs of Mexico, whom Pope John Paul II canonized in 2000.
Father Pedro de Jesús Maldonado Lucero was a member of Council 2419 in the city of Chihuahua. In 1918, he was ordained a priest in El Paso, Texas. In 1924, he was named parish priest for the village of Santa Isabel in Chihuahua. He was able to exercise his ministry until 1934, the year in which he was exiled to El Paso. Despite fearing for his life, he returned to Santa Isabel. Heedless of his own precarious health, he unceasingly celebrated the sacraments. Persecuted for being a priest, he had to leave Santa Isabel and stay in a nearby town, Boquilla del Río. On Feb. 10, 1937, Ash Wednesday, he was detained and taken to Santa Isabel’s town hall, where he was brutally beaten. According to witnesses, he had a broken skull and his entire body was covered in lacerations. When the bishop learned of this, he interceded on his behalf before the governor. The governor ordered the priest brought to the city of Chihuahua, where he died on Feb. 11 as a result of his injuries. His headstone describes the martyr in four words: “You are a priest.”
Knights of Columbus Blessed Martyrs In 2005, three of the Order’s members, also martyrs, were beatified by Pope Benedict XVI together with 10 other martyrs: José Trinidad Rangel Montaño, a diocesan priest from León and member of Council 2484 in San Felipe, Guanajuato; Andrés Sola Molist, a Claretian priest from Spain and member of Council 1962 in León, Guanajuato; Leonardo Pérez Larios, a layman and member of Council 1962. Together, the three were executed because of their faith in April 1927, in El Rancho de San Joaquín, Mexico. Their remains are found at the foot of Cubilete Hill, at the Sanctuary of Santa María Reina de los Mártires. In celebration of the Order’s pilgrimage to Cristo Rey del Cubilete in 2011, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, said, “The Order’s history is forever linked to the history of this great nation. … Loving God above all things and our neighbor as we love ourselves is the only response that we can give to Christ the King
At sea in the Battle for the Atlantic with German submarines, Father John Washington is remembered as one of the four chaplains that gave away their lives after the troopship Dorchester was torpedoed by a German U-Boat off Greenland in 1943. Father Washington and the other three chaplains a rabbi, a Methodist, and a Dutch Reformed minister all gave away their life preservers and were last seen sinking with the ship praying with arms linked for the men’s safety.
John Patrick Washington
Born July 18, 1908
United States Army Chaplain Corp.
Years of service
1942 to 1943
Rank Chaplain Lieutenant