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The Feast of Saint José Sánchez del Río - 2023

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrated the feast of an especially beloved patron on Friday, February 10: St. José Sánchez del Río, a fourteen-year-old from Mexico who gave his life for his Catholic Faith, and who became the patron of the Shrine’s Youth Guild last year. In honor of St. José’s feast day, a special Mass was offered at 12:15 for members of the Youth Guild and their families. At the end of Mass, a first-class relic of the young martyr was removed from the altar for public veneration.

The celebrant, Fr. Augustine Puchner, O.Praem., highlighted the value of St. José’s heroic witness, especially for young people. Father cited the Mass’s first reading from the Book of Wisdom to show how God proves the faithfulness of the martyrs: “God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them” (Wisdom 3:5-6). The martyrs, Father explained, were tested and proved true.

Furthermore, the martyrs are a powerful reminder of the unity of our faith through the ages. “Every time we celebrate a martyr,” Fr. Augustine said, “we are reminded of this beautiful fact: that there are many, many who have given their lives in defense of the truth of the faith that we profess. Is that not a beautiful and inspiring reality, with regard to the continuity of the faith that we share with those who have gone before us?”

In describing St. José Sánchez del Río, Father emphasized his courage in the face of torments and death. This courage, extraordinary as it is, is possible and necessary for us as well, as we face the challenges of our own era. “For all young people, all young Catholics, he’s a wonderful representation of the fact that even the young can be and need to be very strong and courageous in their faith.” To imitate St. José’s courage, we must first imitate him in relying on God and remaining close to Him, especially through prayer and the Sacraments. A video of Father Augustine's homily is posted below.

The St. José Sánchez del Río Youth Guild offers young Catholics regular support for their spiritual lives. Many members have written to express their appreciation for the Guild, particularly the monthly Full of Grace youth journal. Through the intercession of St. José Sánchez del Río, may all Guild members, and all young Catholics, be inspired with the devoted, living faith that overcomes the world (cf. 1 John 5:4). St. José Sánchez del Río, pray for us!