Faubel Cano, Juan Bautista, Bl.

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Lay martyr, pyrotechnician; b. Jan. 3, 1889, Llíria, Valencia, Spain; d. Aug. 28, 1936, Paterna, Valencia.

Juan Bautista (John Baptist) attended public school, but learned his profession from his parents and completed his formation through private study. He married Patrocinio Beatriz Olba Martínez with whom he had three children: Patrocinio, Josefina, and Juan Bautista. Not only was he considered one of the best pyrotechnicians of the region, but he was known also for his piety, goodness, kindness, and faithfulness in carrying out the work entrusted to him.

From his youth he was an active member of various Catholic groups, including the Third Order of St. Francis, Catholic Action, the Nocturnal Adoration Society, and many others. While he was president of La Derecha Regional Valenciana (the Right of the Region of Valencia) he created a section to help the poor.

At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, churches, convents, religious objects, and parish records were destroyed. In Liria, the churches left were converted to secular use because the public celebration of the Mass was prohibited. Six priests and 31 lay people of Liria, including Faubel, were assassinated. Although friends advised him to go into hiding at the beginning of the persecution, Faubel declined and continued his daily activities serenely. He was known to say, "If Our Lord needs my blood, I have no reason to deny Him."

Aware of the risk he was taking, Juan Bautista, in close collaboration with Fr. Miguel Aliaga Turó, founded la Derecha Regional Valenciana at the beginning of the Republican persecution. La Derecha's purpose was to form youth into authentic Christians by establishing Catholic primary schools. When the sisters of San Miguel Convent were evicted, Faubel provided them refuge in his home. The day they left, Aug. 6, 1936, the militia appeared at his door with pistols to arrest him.

He calmed his wife, took a crucifix in hand, and went with them to an area of Liria called Els Olivarets. There his captors tormented him by discharging their guns into the air and sticking him with needles. For several days he was held in the municipal jail, then transferred to the prison of San Miguel de los Reyes, where he was maltreated but strengthened by covertly receiving the Eucharist on several occasions. He was calm on the evening before his death and arranged for an employee to withdraw his money from his bank account before the authorities took over the account, to provide for his family.

Before dawn on August 28, he was taken with twelve others to a gorge along the highway between Valencia and Ademuz near Paterna, where he was shot with his crucifix in his hand. One of those to be executed, Luis Soler Pérez, managed to escape into the darkness and relate the story of Faubel's martyrdom. Faubel's body was found in the cemetery of Paterna and interred at Liria. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II with José aparicio sanz and 232 companions on March 11, 2001.

Feast: Sept. 22.

See Also: spanish civil war, martyrs of, bb.

Bibliography: v. cÁrcel ortÍ, Martires españoles del siglo XX (Madrid 1995). w. h. carroll, The Last Crusade (Front Royal, Va. 1996). j. pÉrez de urbel, Catholic Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, tr. m. f. ingrams (Kansas City, Mo. 1993). r. royal, The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century (New York 2000). L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. no. 11 (March 14, 2001) 14, 12.

[k. i. rabenstein]