A boy that lived near God

On the 7th of November, John Roig Diggle was beatified in the Sagrada Familia basilica, Barcelona. John was a 19 years old teenager from Masnou who died as a martyr for his love for God. 

God is with me!

John was a normal teenager, who was both studying and working. He never missed an opportunity to transform the world with God’s love, he even gave his own life and died as a martyr. 

Apostle of children, youths and workers

John was a tireless apostle. He lived his faith with a sense of community. He tried to dedicate his free time to evangelise children and youngsters. He was a tireless worker too. He studied the social doctrine of the church to defend the workers’ rights and improve the construction workers’ working conditions, during a historical moment and a complex social context. 

“That blond boy was so brave…”

… he died preaching, telling me that he forgave me and he would pray so that God would forgive me as well. I even felt moved. 

— Testimony from a member of the group that assassinated John.

John's lifee



John was born in Barcelona in 1917. He was baptised at the Immaculada Conception Church, in Barcelona. He received his first communion when he was 7 years old. In 1927 he joined the Escolapi School at Diputació street to start his high school education. However, in 1934, all of his family moved to Masnou and John had to stop studying to start working. The main reason this happened is because John’s father had an important economic problem and, practically, became ruined. This came as a shock to the whole family and John, whose future perspectives were broken.

Faith life

John started really living his faith and his relationship with God in Masnou. Although he worked in Barcelona during the day and studied at night, he didn’t stop going to church every day, and he spent long hours praying in the chapel. He started being in charge of the catechesis of the children in Saint Peter parish in Masnou. He became a member of the Federation of Young Christians of Catalonia (FJCC). In there, he found a community and a mission: bring Jesus to others.

Love for God

Everyone started seeing something special in that young blond boy. Inside John, the flame of love for God and his brothers and sisters was burning. That transformed into a great desire of evangelising and improving the life of his most disadvantaged brothers and sisters. He studied the social doctrine of the church to embody and spread it. He was convinced it was the only possible way to end with social inequality and to promote everyone’s dignity.


The Spanish Civil war started in 1936 and this event led to the burning of churches and the persecution of religious people, priests and “mass christians”. John felt disappointed when he was not able to avoid Saint Peter's church of being burnt down. Despite the current situation, he decided not to hide and keep working to maintain his family. Every day he exposed himself by going and returning home with the train, and receiving the Eucharist in secret.

“God is with me”

On the 11th of September 1936, his spiritual leader, Fr. Pere Llumà, provided John with the eucharist so he could bring the comunion to some of the neighbours of Masnou and to “whatever could happen”. That same night, before he was taken prisoner and assassinated, he consumed the Body of Christ which gave John the strength to forgive his assassins and to face, with serenity, his martyrdom. The last words he said to his mother, who was of English origin, were “God is with me” with a big smile.

La famiglia Roig i Diggle. Da sinistra a destra: Maud (la madre) con M. Lourdes, Ramón (il padre), Beatriu e Joan.

Casa dei Roig e Diggle a Barcellona, dove restano a vivere fino al 1934.

Parrocchia di Sant Pere del Masnou dove Joan assisteva alla messa tutti i giorni.

Next events

Encara no hi ha ítems publicats