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5. ST. PEDRO MALDONADO’S LAST COMMUNION, 1937
Be thankful for the privilege of receiving communion. St. Pedro de Jesús Maldonado was a priest during the anti-Catholic rule of Mexican President Plutarco Calles. Father Pedro Maldonado was a great priest in Chihuahua during the anti-Catholic persecution, helping prepare children for their First Communion and serving the poor. On February 10, 1937 — Ash Wednesday —drunken men with guns came into his church, threatening to arrest him. The priest quickly grabbed the church’s pyx of consecrated hosts before the thugs pushed him out into the street. He was dragged by the hair to the region’s political leader, Andrés Rivera, who hit the priest so hard on the head with his pistol that he damaged his skull and eye. The gang began beating Father Pedro, but the priest held his pyx tightly — until a direct blow knocked it loose. The hosts spilled on the ground, and one of the thugs shoved them into the priest’s mouth, sneering, “Eat this! Your last Communion.” The priest did just that; and he stayed alive until the following day, when he died in a hospital.