Priest and Martyr (1882-1928)
+ Mateo Elias Nieves was born in San Pedro, Guanajuato, Mexico. He was so weak at the time of his birth, he was baptized immediately because it was believed he would not survive. He suffered from tuberculosis as a child and almost died on the disease when he was 12 years old.
+ After his father’s death, Elias had to support his family but was eventually able to begin studies at the Augustinian college in Yuriria. He later entered the Augustinian Order, professing religious vows in 1911 and receiving the religious name “Elias del Socorro.” He was ordained in 1916.
+ Elias served as parochial vicar in La Canada de Caracheo but when the government’s persecution of the Church began in 1926, he took refuge in countryside, continuing to minister to his parishioners.
+ Arrested on March 10, 1928, he was shot by the side of the road, a martyr for his faith and commitment to his duties as a pastor.
+ Blessed Elias del Socorro Nieves was beatified in 1997.
For prayer and reflection
“Every priest who preaches the Word of God in times of persecution has no escape; he will die like Jesus on the Cross, with arms tied.”—Blessed Elias del Socorro
On this day, the Church remembers Saint Gustav (of Götstaf) the Hermit. Born in Sweden around 810, it is believed that he was the first person baptized in Sweden by the missionary-bishop Saint Ansgar. Gustav later became a hermit and died on March 10, 890.
O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed Elias with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.