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Posted on 05/20/2005 10:06:41 PM PDT by Coleus
The vocation to holiness expressed in the life and martyrdom of two Mexican brothers inspires their family today, including a grand knight in Guadalajara
|April 3 has become an unofficial feast day for Cristóbal Huerta Wilde. On that day, the grand knight of Fray Antonio Alcalde Council 3552 in Guadalajara, Central-South Mexico, remembers in a special way the heroic life and martyrdom of his grandfather, Ezequiel Huerta Gutiérrez. Ezequiel and his brother, Salvador, were executed by a government firing squad April 3, 1927, due to their involvement with the Cristeros, a group of rebels, including hundreds of Knights of Columbus, who opposed the state-led persecution of the Church that took place in Mexico during the 1920s and 1930s. The era was marked by severe restrictions on priests and nuns, church desecrations, and the outlawing of public religious events, such as the popular Christ the King processions. The name Cristeros is derived from the Spanish Cristo Rey, or Christ the King.
The story of Ezequiel and Salvador was first told in Spanish in the book Sangre de Mártir (Blood of the Martyr), published in 2000 with the cooperation of the Knights of Columbus of Mexico. In a note to readers, Cristóbal and Agustín Huerta Wilde, a nephew of Ezequiels, say their ancestors life and death is a story not just of their family, but of the Church and of our beloved Mexico.
They ask readers to admire the generosity and the honesty of Ezequiel and Salvador, and the example of their lives and those of the estimated 45,000 Mexican Catholics who were martyred for their faith in God, their hope in the Church and for the greatness of Mexico. Here, in brief, is the story of the martyrdom of the two men.
On Aug. 5, 1926, Ezequiel and Salvador, their priest brothers José Refugio and Eduardo, their sister Carmen and other members of the family met to discuss participation in the Cristeros movement. The government had classified Father Eduardo as one of the main agitators. A so-called rebel priest, he was put under surveillance and his name listed at the top of people to arrest. The younger members of the family protested the situation, and many of them wanted to join the Cristeros.
Servant of God Salvador Huerta Gutiérrez
Ezequiel and Salvador, concerned about the safety of their children, urged a different approach. They opposed the use of violence to solve conflicts. Despite the fatherly caution and advice, the young people prevailed. There was no other alternative than to give them the blessing and entrust them to Divine Providence, the biography states.
While the two priest brothers devoted themselves to the spiritual assistance of Catholics and celebrated clandestine Masses, Salvador and Ezequiel opened their homes to wounded Cristeros. They accepted food, clothing and medicine to help sustain the Cristeros and many persecuted families.
On April 1, 1927, another family meeting took place, with many of the same Huerta family members as before. Present were the two priest brothers, who had been underground, and a nephew, Manuel, who had been wounded in Cristeros battles and had come home to convalesce.
The family discussed the repressive actions of the government. Ezequiels son, Jésus, a Cristero, had not been heard from in several months. Rigorous searches of private homes, churches and convents had also commenced. Seeking a solution to their problems, the Huerta family decided that Salvador would continue procuring anything needed by the Cristeros cause and aiding families. Ezequiel would organize the clandestine Masses and contact priests and parishioners about their times and locations. Father Eduardo and Father José Refugio would go back into hiding.
While the meeting was taking place, the police heard rumors that the Huerta brothers were in the vicinity. When the arrest order was issued, there was some confusion about which Huerta brothers to arrest. Did the order refer to Father Eduardo and Father José Refugio? Or to Salvador and Ezequiel? Or to their sons Manuel, Salvador and Jesús, who were each active on Cristeros battlefields? To further confuse the situation, Ezequiels son Jésus went by Jésus Huerta, Isaac Huerta and Teodoro Huerta to carry out his mission within the Cristeros.
The secret police showed up at the mechanics shop operated by Salvador. They told him he was needed to repair a generals car. It seemed strange to Salvador that the agents would seek him out, but he took his tools, climbed into their car, never to return.
At the other end of the city, Ezequiel was at home. An accomplished singer and music teacher, he was working on musical arrangements for a Cristeros hymn when police agents knocked on his door. One of his children answered the door, and when Ezequiel looked out and saw the men in their uniforms, he knew why they had come. As he opened the door, he was told that they had orders to detain him and search the house. The biography states: While Ezequiel disappeared by the doorsill, the children, holding to the bars in the folding screen door, with their eyes full of tears, yelled, Dad, Dad! Juan Bernal and Fernandos Calderas, two young men helping Ezequiel with the musical arrangement, were also arrested.
|Interrogation and Torture|
|The three men were taken to a military post for questioning. An officer asked them their names, trying to find out which one was a Huerta brother. Ezequiel identified himself immediately. The two young men told the police that they had been at Huertas house for singing lessons when they were apprehended. The officer ordered Ezequiel to be put in one cell and the young men in another cell.
From his cell, Ezequiel gave encouragement to the young men. He told them to pray and leave everything in Gods hands. He himself meditated on the accounts of the many Cristeros who had been beaten, massacred and executed for the faith. He prayed for his priest brothers and for his other family members. At times, he broke the silence with whisperings of prayer: Thank you, my Lord.
At approximately 9 p.m. the soldiers returned. They stopped in front of Ezequiels cell, opened the door and threw something someone inside. Moans began to rise from the person who had just been dumped in the cell.
Who is that man, Mr. Ezequiel? asked the young man Bernal. I do not know, he replied.
Darkness surrounded the prisoners. Guided by the moaning, Ezequiel approached his new cellmate. He turned the body over and saw the hardly recognizable bruised and bloody face of his brother Salvador. His feet were bare and bloody.
Salvador, Salvador, Ezequiel whispered. Can you hear me?
His brother squeezed his hand and said, What are you doing here, Ezequiel? They grabbed you, too? I give thanks to God that you are here, my brother.
Salvador continued: We must be strong because we do not know what awaits us. Brother, no matter what happens, we must continue until the end. If the hour has come and we have to give up our lives, it does not matter. We must endure. Now it is time to defend what is ours our liberty and our country.
Ezequiel took off his shirt and softly passed it over his brothers bloody face and feet.
Fernando Calderas, one of the young men who had been arrested with Ezequiel, was especially friendly with Salvador. What happened to you? he asked from his own cell.
With broken words and between sobs of pain, Salvador recounted his interrogation and the charges brought against him for being a traitor to the country. The police asked him about his priest brothers and the whereabouts of the Cristeros.
They tried to make Salvador talk by slapping him, hitting him with a stick and burning him. They tied his hands to a ceiling beam and hit him hard all over his body until he bled. His tormentors tried everything they could to get him to talk, but they only heard Salvadors unhurried praying of the Our Father in response.
After Salvador had recounted his torture to his brother and the two young men, the police returned, this time for Ezequiel. They led him to a room, tied him to a chair and demanded that he tell them all he knew about the Cristeros their hideouts, priests names, locations of Masses, etc.
When he did not answer, they kicked him out of the chair to the floor. They hit him with sticks and whipped him. Hurt and bloodied, he remained silent. Look, said one officer, if we hung your brother by his arms, we will hang you by your feet if you do not talk.
His captors stripped Ezequiel below the waist and beat him all over with a leather strap. The officer leading the interrogation told him to confess or he would be killed immediately. Screams and moans filled the room.
Suddenly, despite his weakened condition, Ezequiel stood and began singing in a loud, strong voice: Long live my Christ, long live my King! May his law prevail triumphantly everywhere! Long live Christ the King! Long live Christ the King! Time and again he sang the Cristeros hymn and time and again he was whipped and beaten. It was reported that his singing could be heard throughout most of the police station.
Ezequiel was returned to his cell, where he reported to Salvador and the young men what had happened to him. Were they able to get any information out of you? Salvador asked.
Brother, Ezequiel replied, they will obtain the information only in paradise
if they ever get there.
Knights of Columbus Martyrs bump! These are such great stories ... especially as we watch our country imposing atheism more each year.
The Secret Side of History, indeed.
Someday the world will know.
It is not well known that one of the first countries to become a victim of the war on religion during the 20th century, and the first country in this hemisphere to be betrayed into Communism, was Mexico.....
TAN Books, I believe, publishes a good book on this very issue, about the priests martyred in Mexico. It is a good read, if you don't know much about this.
Thanks, I think I have a catalog for tan somewhere, I'll check it out.
Thank you for posting this. Both Mexico and Spain produced many martyrs for the faith in the 20th century. Because they were martyred by leftists, however, these martyrs were forgotten and ignored until very recently. Remember, the left can do no wrong; this, sadly, has been the view of some in the Catholic Church, too.
Please order books from TAN ASAP! They are facing Chapter 11 bankrupcy and need to start showing a profit...like, yesterday.
VIVA CRISTO REY
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Thanks for posting. Bump
Keep up the good work.
The events are remarkably similar, with no accident to those which took place where we lived in the '90's but following the French Revolution, the wars of the Vendee.
It is not only the painful sameness but the incredible sweeping under the rug of a huge atrocity. And history books skip over it or ignore it completely.
Thank you Robert.
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I thought I'd seen this before.
As true today as ever.... no, even more.
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