Beginning today, Gypsies from all over Europe started out on the fifth international pilgrimage to a chapel honoring one of their own, Blessed Ceferino Jimenez Malla. The saintly Cerefino, who is known as “Pele,” was martyred for refusing to deny his devotion to the Rosary.
The Archbishop of Sevilla, Cardinal Carlos Amigo, will preside at the main event which will take place this Sunday, accompanied by Bishop Emeritus Damian Iguacen of Tenerife and Bishop Alfonso Milian of Barbastro-Monzon.
On Saturday there will be a procession, a visit to the museum and crypt of the Missionary Martyrs, a visit to the Shrine of Torreciudad, and at night, a Way of Cross. On Sunday there will be a visit to the cemetery and to the house of Blessed Ceferino. On May 4 the liturgical feast will be commemorated by the bishop of Barbastro-Monzon.
The pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Father Jose Maria Garanto, who is organizing the event, said Blessed Ceferino was a “simple Christian who was also profoundly kind to others.”
Pele’s nephew, Alvaro Gimenez, underscored the human and Christian qualities of his uncle Ceferino: “He gave his life for God and he did it with joy. He showed he was a true saint. My father always told me he was a good person and a good Christian.”
In 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, Pele was detained for defending a priest who was being dragged through the streets of Barbastro and for carrying a rosary in his pocket. He refused to throw away his rosary in exchange for his life and thus embraced martyrdom. On August 8, 1936 he was shot while holding his rosary in his hands and shouting, “Long Live Christ the King.”