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Wednesday 18 May |
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Saints of the Day: Bl. Domingo del Barrio Batz and Bl. José María Gran Cirera

Martyred in Guatemala in 1980


© José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro | CC BY-SA 4.0

Martyrs (d. June 4, 1980)

Their story

+ Domingo was born in 1951 in Ilom in the municipality of Chajul, Guatemala.

+ A sacristan of the parish of San Gaspar, he served as a translator and nurse as he accompanied the missionary priests (members of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart) in their journeys to the parish’s many chapels and stations.

+ Padre José Maria was born in 1945 in Barcelona, Spain. He was assigned to the Sacred Heart Fathers’ mission in El Quiché in 1975.

+ The government’s repression of the campesinos, the poor tenant farmers, was especially severe in the region of El Quiché. The campesinos were primarily Catholic and members of the indigenous Mayan people and seen as sympathetic of the anti-government guerilla forces. In retaliation, the government often attempted to destroy church organizations during the civil war, which lasted from 1960 to 1996.

+ Despite having been warned of impending danger and threats from the military leaders of the Republic of Guatemala, José Maria and Domingo would not abandon the people they were committed to serving. Although José Maria encouraged Domingo to return home and family, Domingo replied that he would not leave the priest alone: “If anything happens to us, God willing… if they kill you they will kill me too, because we come together and return together. Don’t be sad.”

+ The priest and his companion were ambushed by government soldiers and shot to death as they were making their way to the village of Chajul on June 4, 1980. Father José Maria was 35 and Domingo was 29.

+ These two men were beatified seven other martyrs (including both Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and Mayan laymen) on January 23, 2020, and they are honored collectively as the Martyrs of El Quiché.

For prayer and reflection

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”—Matthew 5:10


We humbly beseech the mercy of your majesty, almighty and merciful God, that, as you have poured the knowledge of your Only Begotten Son into the hearts of the peoples by the preaching of the blessed Martyrs José Maria and Domingo, so, through their intercession, we may be made steadfast in the faith. 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 Missionary-Martyrs)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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