Blessed Anselmo Polanco, bishop and martyr

Anselmo Polanco (Buenavista de Valdavia, Palencia, 16 April 1881 – Pont de Molíns, Girona, 7 February 1939) is one of the most illustrious victims of the anti-Catholic persecution during the Spanish civil war (1936-1939).

He professed religious vows in Valladolid and was ordained priest in 1904. After various lustrums of service in the area of religious formation and in teaching theology, he was elected prior provincial of the province of the Philippines. In the exercise of his mandate he visited all the missions of the province. He was named bishop of Teruel – Albarracín, where he promoted intense pastoral labor.

At the start of the war he remained in Teruel until his capture by the republicans in 1938. After a year of imprisonment he was shot at Pont de Molíns on the 7th of February 1939 together with the vicar general of his diocese, Don Felipe Ripoll, signing with his blood his faith in Christ and his fidelity to the Church as religious and pastor. John Paul II beatified him in the year 1995.