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This new title in the acclaimed Vision Books lives of the saints series for youth 9-15 yrs. brings to life the inspirational story of St. José Sánchez del Río, a 14 yr. old boy in Mexico who died a martyr for the Catholic faith during the Cristero War in the 1920s.
Meet young José and his friend Trino as the war breaks out in their hometown of Sahuayo. Follow José through his own struggles as the violence escalates, up to his joining the Cristero army in 1927 to fight for freedom of religion. Captured by government forces, José refused to deny his faith in exchange for his freedom. Tortured and forced to march to his grave, he cried out, "Viva Cristo Rey!" (Long live Christ the King) José died as he had lived, a hero.
Inspired by this young martyr to become a priest himself, Father McKenzie spent ten years researching and writing José's story. The result is a riveting tale of a young man's bravery and passion for God. Drawing on all existing sources, including never-before-seen documents from the Vatican and the Mexican Government, Saint José plunges the young reader into a country at war, not over territory, but over the right to worship God freely.
Canonized in 2016 by Pope Francis, St. José is one of the newest and youngest saints of the Catholic Church, and an inspiration to people from all walks of life. He shows us that our faith is worth fighting and dying for. His example is a powerful catalyst for young people today, so many of whom are tempted to never commit themselves to any serious calling in life.
Fr. Kevin McKenzie, a priest of the Legionaries of Christ, is chaplain at Royalmont Academy, a private Catholic school in Cincinnati. Ordained in 2013, he preaches retreats locally and guides pilgrimages to Italy and Ireland.