Spanish Civil War Martyrs of the Congregation of the Mission. killed because of hatred for the Catholic faith, and for being religious clergy. Fr. Fortunato Velasco Tobar, CM.
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Some Communist chiefs arrived at his village, and at one in the morning they took Fr. Fortunato by force to the national prison, putting him with two or more other prisoners. The night of 23 August 1936, they took him out of prison and, on the road to the cemetery, they mortally shot him.
All the witnesses testified that he died forgiving those who killed him.
On 29 July 1936, the priests were having their repast when they heard the parish church bells clanging alarm. Marxist troops had made their way into the city. Fr. Leoncio escaped, changing into old clothing and shoes. A criminal named José Santiago Candeal, suspicious that the old man was a priest in disguise, intentionally knocked his hat onto the ground and saw the tonsure on his head. He hit the priest in the head and neck with a shovel and some iron bars that he had in his saddle, until he killed him.
The Marxists went after Brother Aguirre, who protested proclaiming his innocence and saying that he had done nothing for which they should kill him. They made him get down on his knees in front of the High School, today the Diocesan Seminary, and right there they executed him. Before the shots rang out, he declared: “If I have to die, I die for God and Spain.” The Marxists intimidated him by shouting: "Long live Communism!" but the martyr shouted "Long live Christ the King!"
On 26 July 1936, Marxist troops took the CMs of Guadalajara as prisoners. 300 other Catholics were placed in jail with them. They suffered many hardships and abuses. There was very little food. In the cold winter, their wool mattresses, blankets and coats were taken from them. The priests and religious prayed and offered the sacrament of reconciliation to prisoners who were being executed. On 6 December, a crowd of Communists attacked the prison and executed the prisoners in the prison courtyard.
A member of the Province of Madrid, he was born on 5 April 1909 in Reinoso de Bureba, Burgos (Spain), was imprisoned for six months and died on 6 December 1936 in the executions at Guadalajara.
He had a passion for studying languages, and taught himself English and French at night in his spare time. He felt this necessary to communicate with people, in a modern world that was becoming smaller and smaller.
On 13 October, the Marxists planned to explode the improvised jail they had set up, when they saw that government forces were advancing on the jail. The first explosion destroyed three walls and left the prisoners without a staircase by which to escape. The guards lost control of the situation and shouted "Save yourselves those who can." Some began to crawl out. Lowering himself by a sheet rope, Fr. Tomas was shot in the head. He let go of the rope and fell to the second floor where he died instantly.
Even while in hiding he would sneak out early in the morning to say Mass and hear confessions. On 22 October 1936, he and a Brother were taken prisoner. He was accused of having said Mass on 15 August, that he was a priest, a Fascist and that he made people recite the Creed and the Our Father. He was tortured for three days. When they came to kill him, he embraced Brother Jimenez and said "Good-bye! See you in heaven!" Then to his executioners: "Kill me, but do not do anything to this poor old man who is just our helper." At the moment of death, he forgave his executioners and said he was happy to give his life to God.
On 3 August 1936, about 3:00 p.m., three or four military Marxists took the Fr. Andrés from prison in a car and brought him to San Justo Parish in Astuirias. They made him climb up a steep mountain. He climbed with much difficulty, praying all the time, and pushed by his torturers. When he arrived at the top, about 70 meters, his torturers shot him. Later, eyewitnesses noticed that his forehead was marked with a bloody cross about the width of two fingers. He had sealed his martyrdom with his own blood by making the sign of the cross before he died.
On 14 August 1936, at 4:00 p.m., the Communists removed all the prisoners being held at San José Church in order to execute them. With a smile on his face, Fr. Ricardo was dragged to the death truck along with some 300 companions, among them priests and religious known for their Catholicism. The trucks stopped at the summit of one of the beautiful hills that surround Gijón, not far from the water shed, which was commonly called "Llantones." The prisoners were put into lines and, with machine guns, the Marxists riddled all of them with bullets.
Arriving at the house, a witness heard the laughs and sarcasm of military troops who were tormenting Fr. Pelayo. They were hitting and insulting the priest. They cut his flesh in pieces saying, look at the white meat he has! The last three days of his prison torment, he asked in anguish for some water to drink, but his tormentors refused. To these physical tortures were added spiritual tortures. He asked for a priest to confess him, but his request was denied by the Marxists. On 27 August 1936, at night, they took him from his rectory more dead than alive, stabbed him in the back until he expired and threw his body into the river.
When they saw that many Christians from their region were being arrested, the Vincentian Missionaries could have hidden themselves or found refuge in a safer place in Spain. But they opted to continue their ministry, placing their trust in the Lord. In a gesture of heroic charity, Father Ireneo and another priest offered their life in order to save the lives of the other prisoners, especially those who were parents, but their executioners were filled with hatred for the faith and turned a deaf ear to their plea, thus rejecting their compassionate charity. They were then placed in front of the prison walls and shot; their bodies were left on the ground.
Fr. Antonio was very bright and studied humanities and philosophy. He first intended to become a diocesan priest but then became attracted to the Vincentian dedication to the missions. It was said that he had a quick temper and a tendency to be harsh and demanding, but experience taught him over time to deal with all kinds of people and particularly with the poor. He began to realize that little or nothing is achieved with the poor without patience, gentleness and kindness. On 17 August 1936, as his executors shouted "Long live Communism!", he, exhausted, cried: “I forgive you. Long live Christ the King.”