González García, Manuel, Bl.
GONZÁLEZ GARCÍA, MANUEL, BL.
Bishop of Málaga (1920–35) and Palencia (1935–40), founder of the Eucharistic Missionaries of Nazareth; b. Feb. 25, 1877, Sevilla, Andalucia, Spain; d. Jan. 4, 1940, Palencia, Castille y Léon. Manuel was the fourth of the five children of Martín González Lara, a carpenter, and his wife, Antonia. He paid for his education by working as a domestic servant in the seminary. Following his priestly ordination (Sept. 21, 1901) at the hands of Bl. Marcelo spÍnola y maestre, he was assigned to a mission in Palomares del Rio (1902–05) near Sevilla, then Huelva (1905–16).
Profoundly affected by the vision of an abandoned tabernacle, the bishop dedicated his life to promoting the Real Presence in the Eucharist. On March 4, 1910, he petitioned a group of his faithful collaborators to undertake the "Obra para los Sagrarios-Calvarios" (Work of Sacred Calvary) to make reparations to the Eucharistic Jesus. From this Eucharistic Union for Reparations developed Marys of the Tabernacle for lay women, the Disciples of St. John for laymen, the Children's Eucharistic Reparation Society, Eucharistic Missionaries for priests (1918), Eucharistic Missionaries of Nazareth for women religious (1921), the Institute of Nazarene Missionary Helpers (1932), and the Youth Eucharistic Reparation Society (1939). These societies quickly spread to other dioceses in Spain and the Western Hemisphere through the periodical El Granito de Arena (The Grain of Sand ). Fr. Manuel's work received the approval of Pope Pius X in 1912. This love of the Eucharist also moved the priest to relieve the suffering of his flock and open schools.
On Jan. 16, 1916, Fr. Manuel received episcopal ordination as the auxiliary bishop of Málaga. His elevation to bishop of the same diocese (1920) was celebrated with a banquet for 3,000 poor children—served by dignitaries, priests, and seminarians—rather than the usual gala for the elite. As bishop he visited each parish, improved the educational system for both secular and religious training, and labored to encourage more priestly vocations.
The arrival of the Spanish Republic threatened the work he had accomplished. On May 11, 1931, the episcopal palace was burned, forcing the bishop to direct his diocese from Gibraltar, then Madrid (1932–35). On Aug. 5, 1935, Pope Pius XI named him bishop of Palencia.
Throughout his career, González shared his love of the Eucharist through his writings, which include Lo que puede un cura hoy, El abandono de los Sagrarios acompañados, Oremos en el Sagrario como se oraba en el Evangelio, Artes para ser apóstol, La gracia en la educación, and Arte y liturgia.
He died after patiently enduring years of ill health. The epitaph marking his remains in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in Palencia's cathedral reads: "I ask to be interred next to a Tabernacle, so that my bones after death, as my tongue and pen during life, will always say to those who pass by: Jesus is there! He is there! Do not abandon him!" Pope John Paul II declared him venerable (April 6, 1998), approved a miracle attributed to his intercession (Dec. 20, 1999), and beatified him (April 29, 2001).
Bibliography: L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. Ed. 18 (2001), 1, 6–8; 19 (2001), 7, 10.
[k. i. rabenstein]