Faith for the Journey of Life

My Thoughts on Faith, Life, and 2,000+ Years of Catholicism / Christianity

17 October 2006

Pope Canonizes Bishop / Knight of Columbus

Pope Benedict XVI canonized Bishop Rafael Guizar Valencia (1878-1938) during a Mass held in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, 15 October 2006. "May the example of St. Raphael Guizar Valencia be a call to brother bishops and priests to consider as a fundamental element of their pastoral projects - alongside the spirit of poverty and evangelization - the formation of priestly and religious vocations and their formation in accordance with Christ’s heart," said the Pope.

Bishop Guizar Valencia was an advocate of the poor, an untiring missionary, an educator, a courageous defender of the Church, strong proponent for priest formation and a member of the Knights of Columbus. He spent much of his life fleeing religious persecutions and living in exile in Cuba and Guatemala.

It was while he was living in Cuba that he was elected Bishop of Vera Cruz, Mexico on 1 August 1919. He returned to Mexico the following January. While Bishop, he founded a clandestine seminary in Mexico City that operated for fifteen years.

"A bishop can do without a mitre, a crosier, and even a cathedral," the future saint once remarked, "but never without a seminary, because the future of his diocese depends on the seminary."

While serving as Bishop, St. Raphael Valencia became a member of Knights of Columbus Council 2311 in Vera Cruz on 16 August 1923.

St. Raphael Guizar Valencia is the seventh Knight of Columbus to be canonized as a saint. The other six Saint / Knights - Fathers Luis Batiz Sainz, Jose Maria Robles Hurtado, Mateo Correa Magallanes, Miguel de la Mora de la Mora, Rodrigo Aguilar Aleman, and Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero - were all martyred in Mexican during the religious persecutions of the 1920s.

Also canonized with Bishop Guizar Valencia were the Italians St. Filippo Smaldone (1848-1923) and St. Rosa Venerini (1656-1728) and a French nun St. Theodore Guerin (1798-1856) who established schools in the United States.

While on a mission in Cordoba in December 1937, the Bishop suffered a heart attack. Despite being bedridden, he continued to manage his diocese and seminary and celebrate daily Mass. The Lord God called him home on 6 June 1938.

[Information for this posting providing by the Knights of Columbus website and the Vatican website ]


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