"I am here with my people, live or die," Father Justino Orona Madrigal told his parishioners worried for his safety during the Cristero War (1926–29).
The civil revolt by the Cristeros (Soldiers of Christ) was against the anti-Catholic policies pushed by Plutarco Elías Calles, who enforced the anti-clerical articles of the Mexican Constitution of 1917, which sought to eliminate the power of the Catholic Church through persecution and execution.
Father Justino Orona Madrigal served his parishioners from Las Cruces (The Cross) ranch, where he and another priest, Father Atilano Cruz Alvadrado, prayed the rosary together and discussed their pastoral duties.
But then, on July 1, 1928, 40 federal soldiers swarmed Las Cruces, at dawn.
When his door slammed open, Father Justino Orona Madrigal shouted "Long live Christ the King!" as soldiers gunned him down.
VIVA CRISTO REY!