St. Pedro de Jesús Maldonado Lucero is depicted in this portion of a painting by Mexican artist Martha Orozco featuring six priests — members of the Knights of Columbus — who were canonized by Pope John Paul II May 21, 2000. The priests were among 25 martyrs of Mexico’s anti-Catholic persecution during the 1920s made saints by the pope that day. The painting is part of the permanent collection at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Conn. (CNS, courtesy of Knights of Columbus)

Tony Gutiérrez, editor of “The Catholic Sun,” discusses the life of St. Pedro de Jesús Maldonado Lucero on “The Bishop’s Hour” with host Michael Dixon.
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Feb. 11






One of the 25 Mexican martyrs canonized by Pope St. John Paul II in 2000, St. Pedro Maldonado was ordained in the United States.

Born June 15, 1892, he entered seminary at 17, but left when it was shut down during the Second Mexican Revolution in 1914. He later completed his priesthood studies in the U.S. and was ordained in St. Patrick Cathedral in the Diocese of El Paso Jan. 25, 1918 for the Archdiocese of Chihuahua, Mexico.

He returned to his home diocese, serving in several parishes even during the Cristero War of 1926-1929. While the persecution was relaxed after the war, there were still strong anticlerical sentiments.

EN ESPAÑOL: Festividad de San Pedro Maldonado

After celebrating Mass on Ash Wednesday 1937, he was kidnapped by a group of armed men. He was taken to the town hall where his skull was fractured and one of his eyes dislodged. He fell forward, covered in his own blood, and the pyx containing the Eucharist fell out. A soldier cynically told him to “eat this,” not realizing he was fulfilling Fr. Maldonado’s wish to receive the Sacrament before he died.

He was transferred to a local hospital where he died early the next day, Feb. 11. Fr. Maldonado is a patron of the Archdiocese of Chihuahua and of the Diocese of El Paso. Of the 25 martyrs, he is also among the six priests who were members of the Knights of Columbus, and as such is considered one of the organization’s patrons.