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Relics of Knights of Columbus Priest Martyrs of Mexico in South Bend July 20
Contact: Andrew Walther, 818-522-2005, andrew.walther@kofc.org

SOUTH BEND, In., July 19 /Christian Newswire/ -- The relics of the six Knights of Columbus priest martyrs of Mexico – canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000 – will be in South Bend on July 20 as part of a nationwide pilgrimage organized by the Knights of Columbus. Thousands have already turned out to see the relics in Los Angeles, Denver, Philadelphia, and this week in Phoenix and Tucson.

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THURSDAY, July 20 at St. Adalbert Church 2420 W. Huron St., South Bend will receive the relics at noon. At 6 p.m., there will be a bilingual mass followed by a dinner in the parish’s Heritage Center.

South Bend is the only stop for the relics in Indiana. From there, they move to Chicago and Joliet, Ill. and then to Brooklyn and Manhattan before concluding their journey in Orlando.

The six priests whose relics will be in South Bend -- Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero, Miguel de la Mora de la Mora, Jose Maria Robles Hurtado, Luis Batiz Sainz, Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán, and Mateo Correa Magallanes -– were martyred for their faith by the Mexican government during the religious persecution in Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s. One of the priests – Father Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero – was ordained in the United States in 1918 before returning to Mexico, where he was killed for his faith in 1937.

The pilgrimage of the relics began in Mexico City in September 2005, to mark the centennial of the Knights of Columbus in Mexico. The reliquary traveled to cities throughout Mexico and then moved to the United States on March 18, 2006 opening at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Dallas. After traveling to several major U.S. cities, the pilgrimage will conclude in Orlando at the Knights of Columbus' 124th Supreme Convention in August 2006.

"This pilgrimage seeks to promote knowledge of and devotion to the Knights of Columbus priest martyrs of Mexico and all those who sacrificed their lives for their faith during the Mexican persecution," explained Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, who attended the opening ceremonies for the U.S. portion of the pilgrimage in Dallas.

Relics have long been a part of Catholic devotional practice. Since the days of the Apostles, Christians have preserved and honored the physical remains of men and women recognized as saints. Previous relic pilgrimages have drawn large numbers of the faithful. In 2003, the Knights co-sponsored the journey of a relic of the Tilma of Tepeyac. That tour drew more than 150,000 people.

The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest lay Catholic organization, with more than 1.7 million members in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Additional information – and a full schedule of the pilgrimage – are available at www.kofc.org/relics