By Maria Fischer from Encarnación •
The entire city of Encarnación, the “pearl of the south,” is celebrating. Posters, banners with the country’s and the Church’s colors are everywhere, the cathedral illuminated, a serenade by well-known artists: it is the eve of the great feast for the 400th anniversary of the founding of Encarnación, the city which bears the name of the great event which the entire universal Church celebrates on March 25th – the Incarnation of the Divine Word in the womb of Mary. “The Incarnation which we celebrate is more than 400 years old. The moment of the Annunciation marks the beginning of a new era in humanity’s history. More than 2,000 years ago we inaugurated the new time of Christ with the joy of the news, the selection of the most blessed, her YES to the divine wish and the conception of the Word which becomes flesh, becomes human for us and for our salvation. In Jesus, born of the Virgin, the mystery of God made man, true God and true man, erupts in the history of humanity in need of redemption. The Redeemer assumes our humanity and leads within himself to the victory over death and sin in his passion, his death and his Resurrection,” says Bishop Francisco javier Pistilli in the solemn Mass celebrated in the cathedral of Encarnación.”
The heart of San Roque and a moment of covenant solidarity with Francisco
On March 25th, the cathedral was already full one hour before the beginning of Mass. Children and youths with the banners of their associations and schools line the street. The choir intones one song after another. Friends greet each other and many take advantage while waiting in order to approach the glass showcase which displays the heart of San Roque González, founder of this holy city. And they pause for a moment in front of the image of Our Lady of Encarnación. The cathedral is enveloped in a climate of faith, love and joy.
I do not have an accredited presscard for this event, but with my journalist identification, they let me go to the front. I touch the window of the glass showcase, and at that moment I remember how our Holy Father Francis – a few weeks earlier – asked that someone would greet the heart of San Roque in his name. Obviously, he did not ask me, but I am here and fulfill – in covenant solidarity – his petition…..
The Saints embody the testimony of Christ for each period of time and for each place
Bishop Francisco Javier Pistilli Scorzara, bishop of the diocese of Encarnación and a Schoenstatt Father, presided at the Holy Mass. Also concelebrating were the emeritus bishops Ignacio Gogorza Izaguirre and Claudio Silvero Acosta. They were accompanied by all the pastors of the Encarnación deanery. Participating in the ceremony were: the President of Paraguay, national and regional authorities, foreign diplomats, laity, military personnel, special guests and the citizens of Encarnación, “and even the international media,” commented Sonia Zaracho from the Schoenstatt Family Work and with glances toward schoenstatt.org. Yes, schoenstatt.org was present at this solemn Mass in the city of the glance of the Father, with one of his spiritual sons and a great Schoenstatt collaborator who presided at the Mass.
During Mass, after especially greeting Bishop Ignacio Gogorza and Bishop Claudio Silvero, “my brothers in the episcopate and all my priest brothers,” Bishop Pistilli fraternally greeted “the brothers of the Greek Catholic Ukranian Church, and the Christian brothers from other churches present.”
“Each era and each culture throughout the history of the Church continues to submerge itself into the mystery of Christ. Each Christian and each Christian community relives in its moment the challenge to open up to the grace, to the gratitude to the love of God in order to lead and to elevate to Christ our chosen nature, but at the same time wounded nature. In the joys and sorrows of our history, in the victories and the defeats of our struggles, Christ manifests himself with his grace and knits his presence in the memory of the Christian in order to lead him to the fullness of his Sanctity, as was done in the life of San Roque González of Santa Cruz. The Saints “embody” the testimony of Christ for each period of time and for each place,” said Bishop Pistilli in his homily, highlighting the motive and the reason to celebrate jubilees: To Celebrate is to remember with gratitude, to Celebrate is to renew the grace and the surrender, to Celebrate is to renew the sending forth and the strength to build the Kingdom in the newest times, to Celebrate is to renew the faith and the following of Christ, like Mary and like San Roque.
The joy of the Gospel “Incarnate”
With reference to “Evangelii Gaudium,” he stressed that “the joy of the Gospel, of the Good News, is an invitation to embody a pastoral approach close to the men and women of today in new situations, being Christians who radiate by their way of living, free from fears and complaints, free from suspicions, free from inferiority complexes or superiority often disguised by rigid conventions. A close pastoral approach takes care of, heals, brings joy, supports, with testimonies of full lives, not with lives disjointed from the reality which Christ came to redeem.
The joy of the Gospel is incarnate in works and actions which support social action guided towards the common good which reaches those who are more separated, which seeks and does not expect with indifference, which seeks to share and to enrich while giving. The joy of the Gospel is not lived in isolation, but in Community, in the communion of those who are strong together and who favor the one who is far from the light, from tenderness, from home.
The joy of the Gospel is embodied in a new pedagogy which forms men and women who do not close themselves up in formalisms nor in rigid customs, but are open to the dynamism of charity stemming from personal conversion and from mercy. This joy is born from true conversion which acknowledges that only God is the One who makes us saints, this joy maintains itself in that living Christ who does not isolate himself and does not allow being closed up in strange ideas or ideologies which separate the Christian from Christ. This joy makes us strong without isolating us so that we can be ferment(yeast) everywhere.”
We are joyful because we can listen to God’s greeting in many voices of our times, with changes and challenges, from credible witnesses of the Gospel like Pope Francis
At the conclusion of Mass, the image of the Virgin of Encarnación and the Heart of San Roque went out in procession from the cathedral to the streets of Encarnación. Church on the way, just as Holy Father Francis says, like a program for the entire Church, for each Movement, for each person. In the afternoon, the Schoenstatt Family from Encarnación reflected on the challenge of being, from the Shrine, living shrines “on the way,” in the joy of the Gospel, as Bishop Pistilli said at the conclusion of his homily:
“We are joyful because we can listen to God’s message in many voices of our times, with changes and challenges, from credible witnesses of the Gospel like Pope Francis. We are joyful because today we are the responsible persons of a new era in the proclamation of the Gospel which wants to reach further and more profoundly than in other eras. We are joyful because we were chosen to participate and to be the community of new missionaries who embody the Gospel for the new generations.”
Original Spanish: Translation: Carlos Cantú, Schoenstatt Family Federation, La Feria, Texas USA 04042015
|29 de marzo de 2015 – Encarnación|