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How a role-playing Mexican priest helped me learn to be myself

When my great-grandmother helped Fr. Miguel Pro escape from prison, I wonder what they said to each other.

She was an orphan of the Mexican revolution, and would bring him a disguise to slip past his captors, so that he could offer the sacraments for the faithful who lived nearby. Then, Father Pro would return to his prison cell as if nothing had happened.

Out of necessity in an anti-Catholic country, Father Pro was a master of disguises; you can find photos of these through a quick Internet search. He dressed as a mechanic to minister to cab & bus drivers; or as a farmer to go out to the rural areas. He was a beggar, an office worker… you name it!

True Identity

His truest identity was as a priest—someone who threw his entire self into God and who wanted to be a living image of Christ in the world.

However, the world didn’t allow him to live freely as a priest. He was hunted by the government day and night.

To live as his truest self, therefore, Father Pro chose to become so many other things; a miner, a mechanic, a wealthy gentleman…

One story recounts his conversation with Communists on a train, in which he jokingly claimed that he, too, was a socialist and a Communist. They all laughed together. Father Pro made such an impression on them that they offered him chocolates upon parting. Given the socio-political climate in Mexico at the time, this was no small accomplishment for a priest.

In each of these diverse circumstances, Father Pro strove to be Christ’s presence in that particular situation.

How To Live As Myself?

In our lives, perhaps there are many parts of our personality that never mix. When the barber inquires about my Sunday plans, do I reveal my devotion to God? Or, conversely, among my Church community, may I discuss the latest TV show I’ve been watching every weekend? Old classmates, sports buddies, neighbors, and family… can we consistently be the same person with them all?

I believe strongly that Miguel Pro would answer an enthusiastic, ¡Sí! to all of the above.

No matter what situation we’re in, each of us is only fully ourselves when we find our identity in Christ. Jesus is quoted in the Gospel according to John 10:10, “I came that they might have life and have it to the full.”

“Christ, … in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, makes man fully manifest to himself and brings to light his exalted vocation.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1701)

To put it simply; when we encounter God’s love by getting to know Christ, we discover our ultimate purpose & calling. When we show God’s love by how we live, we are most fully alive. When we find our identity in Christ, we are most fully & authentically ourselves—no matter what!

Ready for Life

Father Pro was all about life. He had so profoundly found himself in Christ, that he was prepared for death… and eternal life. In his final days, he promised:

If I meet any long-faced saints there [in Heaven], I will cheer them up with a Mexican hat dance! – Fr. Miguel Agustín Pro

Even his final words were about life and Christ: ¡Viva Cristo Rey! “Long Live Christ the King!” he shouted, before the reigning powers’ firing squad silenced his mortal voice. (Now, his words echo into eternity… never to be silenced!)

May Christ the King never be silenced in us. May we embrace a daily effort to know Christ in Scripture, in prayer, and in the living witness of the Church. May we fully find ourselves in Christ, and in every situation may we live fully alive!


Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate since 2010. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.

A Lesson from the Country that Evangelized Itself

Yes, you read that right. While most people outside the Middle East have adopted the Christian faith due to missionary work, there is one nation that did not need missionaries.

Meeting Korea

Thanks to a personal interest in South Korea that has developed over the last two years, I have begun eating Korean food, enjoying music and art from the country, learning its language, and exploring Korean history. The story of Christianity in Korea is both fascinating and inspiring.

September 20 is the Memorial of the Korean Martyrs; 130 holy people whose memory deserves celebration, honor, and gratitude for changing the history of the world. Korea has the fourth-most number of martyrs among the world’s nations.

To begin their story, one must first understand something essential to traditional Korean society; education. As opposed to its neighbor Japan, whose traditional power structure (shogunate) was based upon war and the might of a clan, the Korean ruling class for centuries were the Yangban—deriving from the Confucian scholar. For hundreds of years, Korean dynasties maintained a remarkably peaceful stability.

The Surprising Discovery of Jesus

While he was in nearby China, diplomat and scholar Yi Gwang-jeong encountered Christianity for the first time. In 1603, he returned with several theological books written by Fr. Matteo Ricci, an Italian Jesuit. As per usual, Yi passed on the interesting information that he had obtained.

At this time in Korea, class structure was clear. Even today, the Korean language’s historical roots are evident. I’ve struggled to learn all its honorific terminology; addressing someone who is older or more distinguished than oneself with different grammar than someone who is an equal or younger than oneself. Gender adds an additional level of linguistic complexity.

Therefore, meetings of Korea’s early Christians were astonishing to behold; sitting in the same room together were scholars, tradesmen, women, and even slaves, regarding each other with equal dignity.

Koreans’ search for truth led them, not only to a surprise meeting with Jesus, but to completely change their worldview.

Since then, the Catholic Church in Korea has been a main driving force behind activism for social justice and against government corruption. Today, South Korea provides the world’s second-largest number of Christian missionaries (second to the United States).

A Surprise for Us All

How often have you and I entertained thoughts of being ‘better than’ someone else?

In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus and his disciples were on a journey, with the disciples bickering about that very thing; who among them was the greatest.

Observe how Jesus taught them: He directly asked them to admit their topic of discussion; “What were you arguing about on the way?”

As embarrassment rendered them speechless, Jesus surprised them. He brought a child before them. In their society, children were never given the spotlight.

[…] Putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

So, Jesus’ goal is to upend their way of thinking: Do not vie for status in the eyes of humans. Instead, strive to receive the least-important person in your presence as you would receive me and my Heavenly Father.

May we each, like the Korean Martyrs, pursue a relationship with Jesus which causes us to radically change our worldview, and to humbly “remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other” persons in our midst (The Joy of the Gospel, no. 169).


Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate since 2010. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.

Marytown – National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe

Join Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox as they spiritually travel to the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe, in Libertyville, IL in the Archdiocese of Chicago. It is a ministry of the Conventual Franciscan Friars of St.Bonaventure Province. In the first segment, Fr. Benedict La Volpe, OFM Conv., Rector and Guardian of the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe joins Mary Jane Fox for a wonderful conversation about all things, National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe!

During our time together, we will discuss:

  • Why is Marytown referred to as the “Third City of the Immaculate”?
  • An audio walk through the National Shrine.
  • The life of St. Maximilian Kolbe – Priest, publisher, evnagelist, and martyr.
  • Much More!

For more information on the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe, click here to visit their website.

Image courtesy National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe. All rights reserved.


Listen to this program now:


Jewel for the Journey:

“No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it.” – St. Maximilian Kolbe


A Closer Look at the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe:


Where is the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe?