Atilano Cruz Alvarado was born in Teocaltiche on October 5, 1901. He worked as a ranch hand for his family until the parents decided to send him to Teocaltiche to learn to read and write. There he discovered his vocation and entered a clandestine seminary in 1918. Two years later, he was sent to Guadalajara to finish his training. He was ordained on July 24, 1927, and sent to Cuquío a year later, where the parish was being run from a ranch house, “Las Cruces”. There, on June 29, 1928, he joined his pastor, Justino Orona Madrigal, and they prayed and discussed the situation in their parish.
In the early dawn of July 1, he was apprehended by a squad of soldiers. In the jail where he was held, Fr. Orona Madrigal and his brother were there, covered with wounds. While he was praying at the foot of the bed, the soldiers shot Fr. Cruz. His still living body was thrown onto the porch together with Fr. Orona. The two were then taken to Cuquío, where their bodies were dragged through the central square, during which they died.
Father Cruz was 26 at the time of his martyrdom. One of the countless martyrs of the Cristeros War, most known only to God.