Saint of the Day – 12 April – Saint David Uribe Velasco (1889-1927) Priest and Martyr of the Cristero War – born on 29 December 1888 at Buenavista de Cuellar, Guerrero, Mexico and died by being shot in the back of the neck on 12 April 1927 near San Jose Videl, Morelia, Mexico.
He was born in Buenavista de Cuéllar, (Diocese of Chilapa), on 29 December 1889 as the son of Juan Uribe and Victoria Velasco, a humble couple of few material resources but of many exemlary virtues. He was the seventh of eleven children.
In 1903 he began his ecclesiastical preparation at the Seminary of Chilapa and was Ordained as a Priest on 2 March 1913. After his Ordination he left for his hometown and there he celebrated his first Holy Mass on 12 March 1913. A while later he became the personal secretary to His Excellency, Antonio Hernandez Rodriguez, the Bishop of Tabasco.
After the persecution of the Church was unleashed and his Bishop was exiled, he became the Parish Priest of Iguala, Gro. (Diocese of Chilapa), where he exercised his ministry with exemplary pastoral zeal and prudence, especially in a region which was suffering under the virulent attacks by Freemasonry, Protestantism and a group of schismatics.
Fr David had a great and profound love for the Holy Eucharist and the Virgin of Guadalupe – in his sermons he continually extolled the necessity of constantly crying out for the protection of the Mexican people.
On 7 April 1927, the soldier who arrested him proposed all kinds of guarantees and freedom if he accepted the laws including being made a bishop of the schismatic Church created by the Government of the Republic but Father David reaffirmed what he had written a month earlier and which reveals all the strength of his faith and his fidelity –
“If I was anointed with the holy oil that makes me a minister of the Most High, why not be anointed with my blood in defence of souls redeemed with the blood of Christ?
What happiness to die defending the rights of God!
I would die rather than ignore the Vicar of Christ!”
Already, whilst he was in prison he wrote his last words:
“I declare that I am innocent of the crimes that I am accused of.
I am in the hands of God and the Virgin of Guadalupe.
I ask God for forgiveness and I forgive my enemies;
I apologise to those who I might have offended.”
He was taken to a place near the San José Vistahermosa station, called Morelos (Diocese of Cuernavaca). As he exited the car, he fell on his knees and from the depths of his soul he begged God for the forgiveness of his sins and for the salvation of Mexico and it’s Church. He got up slowly and addressing the soldiers with a fatherly tone, said to them:
“Brothers, kneel down so that I may bless you. With all my heart I forgive you and I only ask that you pray to God for my soul. As for me, I will not forget you when I am before Him.”
He firmly raised his right hand and in the air, traced the Sign of the Cross. He then divided his possessions between the soldiers, his watch, his Crucifix, his Rosary.
He was then sacrificed with a shot to the neck on 12 April 1927. … Vatican.va
His relics rest in the Church of St Anthony of Padua in his native town of Buenavista de Cuellar.
A Shrine and Chapel dedicated to St David resides in the Church of St Francis of Assisi in Iguala.
Saint David was Beatified on 22 November 1992 and Canonised on 21 May 2000 by St Pope John Paul II .