Blessed José María de
Eugenio del Saz-Orozco Mortera)
Blessed Filipino Priest
September 5, 1880 -
August 17, 1936
Feastday: November 6
Blessed José María de Manila (born Eugenio
del Saz-Orozco Mortera, 5 September 1880 – 17 August 1936) is a Spanish-Filipino
Roman Catholic blessed, and was priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. He
was martyred in the early phase of the Spanish Civil War, and is the third
Filipino to have been declared blessed by the Roman Catholic Church.
María was born in Manila, Philippines on 5 September 1880 to Spanish parents Don
Eugenio del Saz-Orozco de la Oz, the last Spanish Mayor of Manila, and Doña
Felisa Mortera y Camacho. He spent his initial years of education at Ateneo de
Manila University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and University of Santo Tomas.
He stayed in the Philippines until he was
16 years old, pursuing further studies in Spain. Despite objections from his
parents, according to López, José María fulfilled his desire to become a
Capuchin priest. Records also showed that he had his simple profession in
Lecaroz in Navarra on 4 October 1905, while his solemn profession was held 18
October 1908. He was ordained a priest on 30 November 1910.
Fr. José María "remained a Filipino at
heart" throughout his years in Spain, desiring to return to the Philippines to
serve the local Philippine Church despite the fall of the Spanish East Indies
government in 1898 due to the Philippine Revolution and the Spanish–American
War. Circumstances prevented him from returning, and so he resolved to zealously
proclaim the Gospel in Spain, which was still suffering from poverty brought
about by the First World War.
There was a growing tide of
anti-Catholicism and anticlericalism in Spain, as critics accused the Church of
conspiring with the government to keep the people poor. The effects of the Wall
Street Crash of 1929 pushed the working class to their limits, and military
generals took advantage of the situation by staging an uprising in July 1936
that began the Spanish Civil War. Church property was seized or destroyed, and
priests and religious were imprisoned. On 17 August 1936, Fr. José María was
executed at the gardens of the Cuartel de la Montaña, a military building in
March 2013, Pope Francis approved the findings of the Congregation for the
Causes of Saints that Fr. José María and 521 other companions were indeed killed
because of their Roman Catholic Faith, clearing the way for their beatification.
These twentieth-century martyrs of the religious persecution during the Spanish
Civil War were beatified on 13 October 2013 in Tarragona, Spain. The
Beatification Rite and Mass was presided by Angelo Cardinal Amato, SDB, prefect
of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who read the Apostolic Letter
declaring the martyrs "Blessed" and setting their common feast day for every 6
November, together with other previously beatified martyrs of the Spanish Civil
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