Emmanuel Gómez González, son of José and Josefina, was born on 29 May 1877 in São José de Ribarteme, in the Diocese of Tuy, Spain. He was baptized the following day.
He was ordained a priest on 24 May 1902 and exercised his priestly ministry in his native Diocese for two years. In 1904 his request to be incardinated into the neighbouring Diocese of Braga, Portugal, was granted. He served there as parish priest from 1905 to 1913.
When political and religious persecution began in 1913, Fr González was permitted to sail to Brazil. After a brief stop in Rio de Janeiro, Bishop Miguel de Lima Valverde welcomed him in the Diocese of Santa Maria (Rio Grande do Sul), and on 23 January 1914 entrusted him with the duty of parish priest in Saudade.
In December 1915 Fr González was transferred to the Northern part of the Diocese, to a large parish in Nonoai that could have been considered a small diocese in itself. Here he dedicated himself to evangelization with such enthusiasm that within the eight years of his ministry, he significantly improved the level of faith in that area.
His ministry also included the pastoral care of the native Indians and the duty of parish administrator in the vacant parish of Palmeiras das Missões. He was, in fact, martyred in that remote region.
Adílio Daronch, the third of Pedro Daronch and Judite Segabinazzi’s eight children, was born on 25 October 1908 at Dona Francisca in the Cachoeira do Sul municipality of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. In 1911 the family moved to Passo Fundo and in 1913 to Nonoai.
Adílio was one of the adolescents who accompanied Fr González on his long and tiring pastoral visits, which also included the native Kaingang Indians. He was also a faithful altar server and a student in the school founded by Fr Manuel.
On 21 May 1924 at nearly 16 years of age this youth courageously gave his witness for Christ alongside his mentor.
The Bishop of Santa Maria asked the Spanish priest to visit the Teutonic colonies in the Três Passos forest, close to the boarder of Uruguay. After celebrating Holy Week in the parish of Nonoai and notwithstanding that the area was rife with revolutionary movements, Fr Manuel set out on this dangerous missionary journey, accompanied by his brave altar server and protégé, Adílio.
Along the route the priest stopped in Palmeria, where he administered the sacraments and exhorted the local revolutionaries to mutual respect, if for no other reason than the common Christian faith that they shared. The worst extremists did not appreciate his message, nor the fact that he gave Christian burial to the victims of the local bands. Thus, Fr Manuel began to be viewed with suspicion.
Continuing their missionary journey, they again stopped along the way to ask directions and to celebrate Holy Mass; the day was 20 May 1924. Desiring to bring God’s grace and to proclaim the Good News, the ardent missionaries did not heed the warning of the locals, who tried to dissuade them from venturing into the forest.
Therefore, they accepted the “kind assistance” of the military personnel who offered to accompany them to Três Passos. In this way they fell into the trap prepared for them and were taken to a remote area of the forest, where they were bound to separate trees and shot on 21 May 1924, martyrs of the Faith.
Although human beings refused to accept the holy martyrs’ message of mutual respect, it seems nature did, since no wild beast or animal touched them: the inhabitants of Três Passos found their bodies still intact four days later.
Their remains were buried nearby for 40 years. In 1964 their bodies were exhumed and translated to the parish church of Nonoai, and a monument was erected on the place of their martyrdom.
On 16 December 2006 Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed the decree of martyrdom of these two faithful servants of Christ murdered in hatred of the Faith.