Saturday, February 27, 2016

Feast of St. Gabriel Possenti Range Day

February 27 is the Feast Day of the Patron Saint of Handgunners, so what better reason for a trip to the range? This morning six of us gathered to enjoy some shooting fun.

The thermometer read 27° when Colleen and I arrived, found one of our group already there. He was wisely sitting in his car enjoying his coffee. We quickly set up our targets and loaded magazines and began enjoying ourselves. After the first round of shooting, more folks arrived as we were trying to warm our hands. Soon we had a full line of shooters sending rounds downrange. The sounds of freedom were ringing loud.

Besides shooting, we enjoyed fun banter and conversation on age, politics and the Church. After around an hour and half of shooting, most of us were out of ammo so we reluctantly packed up to leave. Of course, it was about that time the side of the bay I was standing on finally saw some warming sun. At least it made the brass easier to find.

It was a fun morning with like-minded folk. I should do some research on other Saints with associations with firearms for future outings — a Saint whose Feast Day falls during the warmer months would be ideal.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Blessed José Sánchez del Río

[Cross-posted from Musings Over a Pint]

Today, February 10, is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Blessed José Sánchez del Río. On this date in 1928, this 14 year old boy was killed for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith during the Cristero War. The story of this period of Catholic persecution led by Mexican President Calles was told in the movie "For Greater Glory".

After José was captured by government forces, he was forced to witness the torture and execution of fellow Catholics, yet he never wavered in his resolve. He was himself was tortured and urged to shout "Death to Christ the King" with the promise his suffering would be over. On the day of his torturous execution, the soldiers cut the soles of his feet and he was made to walk barefooted to the grave they had dug for him. He was repeatedly stabbed with bayonets as he made his way to the place of his martyrdom.

Even after he had been shot he continued to cry out "Viva Cristo Rey!" ("Long live Christ the King!") The commander of the soldiers was so furious that he was able to resist the government barbarism, he finally shot the boy in the head. As he died he is said to have drawn a cross on the ground with his own blood. Blessed José Sánchez del Río was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on November 20, 2005.

During the Cristeros War many Catholics were killed by the Mexican government for their faith. This tragic part of recent history is pointedly ignored by the history books in both the United States and Mexico. It is a story that needs to be told and learned by all free people. The people of the United States shared in the tragedy, as our own government supplied both arms and air support for the Federales in their battles with the Catholic faithful.

As the attacks on the Church increase in the United States, with the aggression led by our own government, we would do well to remember the resolve of this strong young man, and pray that we too will remain faithful through whatever trials await us.

Blessed José Sánchez del Río, Pray For Us!