ARGENTINA, Lilita and Carlos Ricciardi, Maria Fischer •
On February 18th during the Covenant Mass, the Schoenstatt Family from La Plata welcomed the new pastor for the Cathedral of La Plata: Father Jorge Gonzalez, a member of the Schoenstatt Federation of Diocesan Priests. The Schoenstatt Shrine is in the immediate neighborhood of the La Plata Cathedral. —
On Sunday, March 10th, Archbishop of La Plata Víctor Manuel Fernández, inaugurated the new pastor of the La Plata Cathedral, as well as parish vicars: Marcelo Carvallo and Juan Luis Lucero Moreno, who will accompany him in his pastoral work. The ceremony was well attended by the faithful, religious, those close to the new parish priest, and members of the clergy. The Cathedral Foundation Choir played a special role during the liturgy, and the pastor congratulated its directors and members for their twenty years of service.
In his homily, Archbishop Fernandez emphasized the Lenten season that had just begun and the importance of Jesus in people’s lives. “Whoever proclaims with his mouth that Jesus is Lord will be holy,” he recalled.
The Prelate of La Plata reflected on the need to contemplate the figure of Christ when one thinks of the future, the family, or of work. “If the prayer is sincere, you can remain calm, because your life is in good hands. If it is not, your life will drift away,” he added, entrusting the task of “listening to us and letting us be led by the Lord, to guide our lives, to impel us.
Addressing the new pastor, the archbishop asked: “Don’t try and foresee everything that is going to happen in this cathedral and in this community. May Christ be Lord of this Cathedral, of this community, and he will show to you what is convenient. There is no more beautiful freedom than to allow oneself to be led and guided interiorly by him.”
Archbishop Fernández encouraged the parish community “In these first days of Lent, call on the Holy Spirit frequently, so that he may fill you with trust, with docility to the Lord’s will,” and he recalled the importance of almsgiving, pointing out that the greatest commandment is love.
“What is the city without God, or what would the city of La Plata be without the Cathedral?”
Before the final blessing, Fr. Gonzalez asked the people present: “What is the city without God, or what would the city of La Plata be without the Cathedral?” “The Cathedrals meant the rebirth of the cities, and in our case, this magnificent structure that shelters us was born just two years after the foundation of La Plata,” he recalled.
He also reviewed the history of the church, which began with the project of the then Director of Public Works, engineer Pedro Benoit and architects Ernesto Meyer and Emilio Coutaret. He also expressed his gratitude for “the untiring and silent work of so many immigrants that came from afar to build our beloved city.”
“I am from La Plata, several generations now, and my family roots are intertwined in this young history,” he said, and recalled his first priestly steps in this Cathedral, along with Fr. Carlos Ruiz Diaz, who walked, like no one else, the more than 5,000 square meters. “To him we owe the constant concern and tenacity with which he carried out so many years of ministry in the Cathedral.
“The Cathedral church has a very high significance in the life of the diocese, beyond its architectural importance or its symbolic value for the city, since here is the See of the Chair of the Archbishop and that carries with it the space for doctrinal teachings and major celebrations,” he added.
The new parish priest thanked the Archbishop of La Plata “for entrusting me with the mission of being rector and parish priest of this Cathedral, which is an icon of diocesan communion, in the convergence of gifts and charisms, in its rich variety of ministries and services.
“I come from the northern end of the Archdiocese, and for more than seventeen years, I was pastor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Bell, and I was very happy in that parish community. All these years I was a priest of the people, and now I come to the center of the city, and it would be pointless to hide my fears, but I come with the deep conviction that it is God who leads our lives and does all things well, he is a father and he loves us,” he said.
With material from AICA
Original: Spanish. 17 March 2019 Translation: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA