This morning we remember Blessed Elías del Socorro Nieves, who was martyred on this day in 1928 and beatified by Saint John Paul II in 1997. Padre Nieves defied an order from the Mexican government to leave his town of ministry. After spending 14 months living in a cave and ministering by night, he was arrested and shot.
Before Padre Nieves died, his murderer said, “Let’s see if dying is anything like saying Mass.” To this, the martyr answered, “You are speaking the truth. To die for our religion is a pleasing sacrifice to God.”
In his homily for the beatification of this holy man, St. John Paul II said:
The life and martyrdom of Fr. Nieves, who did not want to abandon his faithful despite the risks he was taking, are in themselves an invitation to renew faith in God who can do everything. He faced death with fortitude, blessing his executioners and witnessing to his faith in Christ. The Church in Mexico today has a new and a powerful intercessor who will help her to renew her Christian life; his Augustinian brothers have one more example to imitate in their constant search for God in fraternity and in service to the People of God; for the whole Church he is an eloquent example of the fruits of holiness which the power of God’s grace produced in him.