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St. Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán

Knights of Columbus Council 2330

Ciudad Guzmán, México

Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán was born in Sayula, Jalisco, on Feb. 13, 1875. He entered the auxiliary seminary of Zapotlán el Grande in 1888, where he excelled in the study of the Spanish language, applying his literary abilities to his preaching.

Ordained as a priest on Jan. 4, 1903, he fulfilled his ministry with zeal and dedication. He became a parish priest of Unión de Tula, Jalisco, in 1925, and was subjected to persecution following the suspension of public services. Due to the harassment he suffered after January 1927, he sought refuge outside his parish, in Ejutla, Jalisco, which belongs to the diocese of Colima, where he continued to serve the spiritual needs of his parishioners.

At the height of the religious persecution, he was moved to say: “Soldiers may take away our life, but never our faith.”

On October 27, 1927, General Juan B. Izaguirre arrived in Ejutla, leading a large contingent of soldiers. Father Aguilar, named synodal examiner by a group of seminarians who, like himself, had taken refuge there from persecution, was just about to fulfill the duties of his office. They were alerted and everyone fled, except for Father Aguilar who stayed behind to burn the list of names of the seminary.

When he was discovered, the soldiers asked him to identify himself. "I am a priest," he responded, knowing that his admission would mean that he would be charged with and punished for unjustifiable offenses and abuses.

Early the next day, General Izaguirre ordered for the priest to be hanged in the central square of Ejutla. When the rope was tied to the branch of a robust mango tree, Father Aguilar blessed the instrument of his martyrdom, pardoned his executioners, and made a gift of his rosary to one of them. They told  him that he could save his life if he renounced his convictions by shouting "Long live the Supreme Government!" So a soldier asked him coarsely, "Long live who?" Without hesitating, he said "Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe!” They repeated the question two more times Speaking with difficulty, Father Aguilar still replied, "Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe!” After responding in this manner three times, he was hanged for his faith. His remains are located in the parish of Unión de Tula, Jalisco.

Based on Canonización de Veintisiete Santos Mexicanos