Wednesday, September 22, is the feast of Blessed Juan Maria de la Cruz, the first SCJ to be named blessed. He was beatified on March 11, 2001.
“I am a priest.” Under ordinary circumstances, this declaration would be understood as a mark of dedication and service. During the Spanish Civil War, however, it was enough evidence for imprisonment and eventual execution.
“They are keeping me here, Reverend Father, imprisoned for three weeks because I uttered a few words of protest about the horrid spectacle of the churches being burned and profaned,” wrote Bl. Juan Maria to the SCJ superior general. “May God be blessed, may his will be done in everything. I am very happy to be able to suffer something for him who suffered so much for me, a poor sinner.”
On the night of August 23, 1936, after a month in a Valencia jail, where he cared for the pastoral needs of many prisoners, Bl. Juan Maria and nine others were shot to death and buried in a common grave. In 1940, his body was exhumed and could be identified by his profession cross; his Sacred Heart scapular, which had two bullet holes in it; and a small, bloodstained diary. Today, his body is buried at the SCJ seminary in Puente la Reina, Spain.
Click here to read more in the September 15, 2015 issue of Dehonian Spirituality. The write-up on Bl. Juan Maria is in the second section, under “Oblation.”
Click here to access the liturgy and prayers for the feast day in a variety of languages.
Let the Priests of the Sacred Heart pray for your loved ones and intentions.