Celebrating Saints: Jose Brochero, “Cowboy Priest,”—January 26

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Jose Brochero, January 26


Jose Brochero lived in Argentina with his mom and dad and was one of 10 children in his family. He entered the seminary when he was 16 years old and was ordained a priest 10 years later in 1866. The next year a cholera epidemic swept through the city and many people died. Fr. Brochero went out and ministered to the sick and dying and brought them comfort.

Cowboy Priest

In 1869 he became pastor of St. Albert Parish, which was spread over 1,600 square miles. Fr. Brochero was known as the cowboy priest. He traveled mile after mile on a mule to reach the people of his parish and share the Gospel. He carried everything he needed for Mass and the sacraments on the back of his mule. He always wore a poncho to protect him from the weather.


Loved Others

Fr. Brochero loved God and loved the people of his parish. They were isolated by mountains, and many of them lived in poverty. He helped the people build roads and churches. He served the poor and sick and brought them comfort. He had great compassion for others. He showed God’s love for the people in all he said and did.

Shared the Gospel

His life shows us the importance of going out to where people are to share the good news of Jesus Christ. In this way we bring hope to the lives of other people like Fr. Brochero did. He died in 1914. At the canonization of this saint in 2016, Pope Francis blessed a statue of St. Jose Brochero on a mule. This is how people remember this beloved pastor.

What We Can Do

■■ Ask questions about his life. How many brothers and sisters did he have? How old was he when he went to the seminary? Who did St. Jose Brochero help after he became a priest? How did he reach the people of his parish? What did he help build for the people? Who did he visit? How can we be like this saint?

■■ Talk about ways to share the good news of Jesus Christ. We are to go out and live as disciples and not wait for people to come to us. Ideas include inviting people to Mass, talking about Jesus to others, showing God’s love by being kind, taking part in service
projects, and praying for people facing challenges in their lives.

■■ Make “Jesus pennants.” Each child cuts a pennant from colored paper in a smaller size than a sports team pennant. In large letters, they print the name of Jesus on it. Then they decorate the pennant with foam faith stickers such as a crosses, hands, hearts, butterflies, and stars. They can display the pennant at home.


God, Father of all people, we praise you for the example of St. Jose Brochero. He brought the Gospel to people in the farthest corners of his parish. Help us not to be too busy to go out and share the good news of Jesus Christ with others. May we bring hope to the lives of others by our words and actions. Amen.


PATRICIA MATHSON, MRE, has years of experience as a director of religious education. She is the author of many books, including 70 Prayer Starters for Children from Twenty-Third Publications.

This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, January 2018


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