Although September 22 was not the day of his martyrdom, it is the day upon which we commemorate it by remembering his passage to eternity lived with Christ. The first Dehonian martyr, Fr. Juan María de la Cruz, one of the victims of the Spanish Civil War, was killed on 23 August 1936 while imprisoned in Valencia (Spain).
This year we want to celebrate his liturgical memory with a triduum of preparation and prayer developed by the Spanish confreres. It includes a reflection on the life of the martyr concentrated in three aspects: supporter and protector of vocations, apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and martyr of Christ. In fact, the Dehonian Family recognizes Fr. Juan María de la Cruz as the patron saint of vocations. Let us therefore pray for young people to be generous in their journey towards Christ and, if God calls them, to be courageous and put their lives at the service of evangelization in favor of the Kingdom of God in this world.
The Spanish Province has prepared several materials that give a broader knowledge of the Dehonian protomartyr. For children, a comic book has been created that tells about the life of the blessed Dehonian. For now, it is available in seven languages. A poster is available in various languages. There are also liturgical materials for the Mass and liturgy of the hours, in addition to the booklet for the triduum. Here you can download all the materials in one package.
Mariano García Méndez was born in San Esteban de los Patos (Ávila, Spain) on September 25, 1891, from a peasant family, simple and rich in Christian virtues. Already as a child he felt the call to follow Christ as a priest and become a diocesan parish priest. When he entered the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus he took the name “John Mary of the Cross” (Juan María de la Cruz ). Full of apostolic zeal, he dedicated much of his ministry to the Apostolic School of Puente la Reina, and also in vocational development. The Spanish Civil War of 1936 led him to testify to his faith and to declare his priesthood in the face of the burning of St. John in Valencia. Incarcerated, after a month of ministering among his fellow prisoners, he was martyred in Silla (Valencia) on 23 August 1936.