Jose Loncán Campodarve

Born April 18, 1915 in Azlor (Huesca)

Professed August 15, 1931

Shot October 18, 1936 in Cervera (Lérida)

 

The student Jose Loncán was born in the small and town of Azlor, in the province of Huesca on April 18, 1915.  He grew up in a large family formed by his parents, Don José Loncán, a bricklayer by profession, and Ms. Maria Campodarve, and five younger siblings. He was baptized in the parish church of Santa Maria de las Victorias in Azlor on April 21, 1915. He would also receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in this parish.

 

As a child, he was assiduous and punctual altar server. His mother said: When he heard the Church bells for Mass, he’d run out the door because the one who first arrived would wear the cassock. When asked if he would consider being a religious, he immediately accepted. At the age of 11, in the summer of 1926, he entered the Postulancy of Barbastro, where he began studies in Humanities and continued in this program in Cervera in 1927.

 

With his companions, he moved on to Vic on July 29, 1930 for the Novitiate. The Master of Novices was Fr Ramón Ribera. During the second half of the Novitiate, the country was experiences changes like the proclamation of the Republic in Spain, elections of the Constituent to the Courts and the social climate with the burning of churches and convents. This new anti-religioud environment created uneasiness and concern in the family of Jose by means of a letter, to which he responded on June 11, 1931. He said he wasn’t afraid, that he loved his vocation and that he was ready for martyrdom:

“In this city of Vic the people are very good thank God, but there is one who seems to have a special taste in removing the peace and tranquility. I don’t know what they see in a poor friar and want to kill him. Against those bad individuals and persecutors of the friars we had to arm ourselves. On that day that they burned so many convents in Spain, we were ready to leave the house and run for the hills.”

 

He loved his vocation above all: “it may not seem that for this I want to go to Azlor because I prefer to be running through these mountains pursued by the bad people if it is the will of God. I prefer it not go to Azlor because being there I don’t have that much security of becoming a religious again. I really want to become a religious and missionary and to convert many souls for Jesus. I will do what God wants, to leave or to be killed with all the religious. Above all, I am willing to die a martyr but I say, I would be very disappointed not to be able to profess because of the preverse laws of the Government and I would not want to have to go to Azlor because I would have to repeat another year of the Novitiate.”

 

On August 15, 1931, he did make his First Profession. Eleven days later he moved with 16 companions to Solsona. For safety reasons they were dressed in civilian clothes. In Solsona they studied Philosophy and Theology. On August 26, 1935, they would move to Cervera to continue studying Theology.

 

Qualities. The first reports were not very favorable, but in 1935, it was a little better. He exhibited good intellectual qualities, very studious, given to the sciences more than the Virtue and a bit picky. Another report later said that freedom of expression was part of his personality.

 

Martyrdom

July 21, 1936: He would leave the community house with all of his classmates from Solsona.  They had to spend the night in San Ramon. The next day, for health reasons, he was taken along with Evaristo Bueria to the hospital of Cervera. He joined the other missionaries who were sick and elderly. Jose Loncán was plagued with epilepsy which gave him many headaches. In the hospital living with the other missionaries, he dedicated his day to prayer and the preparation for martyrdom. October 17, 1936, Juan Solé, Enrique Ruano and other accompanying militia led the missionaries to a truck. Jose Loncán and the other 10 were shot in the cemetery of Cervera while shouting, “Long Live Christ the King!