Madrid, May 21st, 2020, the day of the Lord’s Ascension, Barbara Anne De Franceschi •
We’ve lost a holy priest. Slowly, quietly, offering in silence an illness that has taken away his physical strength and vigor, but has kept him alert until his last agony. Surrounded by his brothers in community, cared for by the Palliative Care Unit, and sustained by the prayers of two countries that he loved deeply and that loved him just as much. —
In Chile, his country of origin, his large family: his community of priests, some still from his course, with whom he was formed, ordained a priest and lived closely for many years; his brother Cristian and his wife Cristina, his numerous nephews for whom he celebrated Mass every year at Christmas and when the opportunity presented itself, with whom he spent his vacation in the south, and for whom he always cared. He was very proud of his history, of his family; of the way the Good Lord led him.
In Spain, where he carried out his task as a Good Shepherd during the central years of his life, the candles of the Home Shrines of so many who love him have been lit, to accompany that long and difficult process of those who have to prepare themselves for a journey, perhaps the most important of ones life, that will take them to Heaven. Mission accomplished.
I am writing from Spain. Today is a bright day; it’s still springtime. Just coming out of a long confinement that has allowed us, however, to recover a healthy rhythm, a close family life, clean air, an awakening to solidarity with the most vulnerable.
In Chile I know that they are going through an arduous, difficult autumn. On the crest of a COVID-19 that does not forgive, and that comes after another very serious social, economic and political crisis, where the Church has not exactly come out of it standing upright. This is the framework in which the Good Lord has decided to come seek the one who was a reflection of Him, being the Good Shepherd, in His two beloved countries: Chile and Spain.
A holy priest is leaving us, a knight of Mary, formed by her, who has forged history with the weapons of faith, hope and Love. However, he was never alien to social justice, to the culture he lived in, perfectly sensitive to everything around him: personal stories, cultural currents, the comings and goings of the life that is built up every day.
With absolute respect for personal freedom
Educated to the core, prudent, simple, joyful, pious, merciful. He had the gift of compromise. Indeed, he treated everyone with the same respect and delicacy. It did not matter the social class or the economic level. Only one thing was important to him: to bring souls to the shrine, and to be transparent about Christ, the Good Shepherd. But beware! With absolute respect for personal freedom! Fulfilling God’s will with each one seemed to be his rule of life, for he never forced any situation that was against the dignity of the person.
Each one, in Chile and in Spain, keeps in his/her heart the moments spent at his side, in the office where he confessed, on the altar where he celebrated Mass, in the homes where he accompanied the many meetings, on walks by the sea, or in those that led to the highest peaks. We will have a lot of time to talk about it and to remember those moments in which he gave us his time and wisdom. Today, only a THANK YOU comes from our heart, a thank you for your life, Father Jorge.
His Capital of Grace throughout his life, his limited health that never took away his strength, his bad irrigation that played tricks on him, although he always raised a smile for us, and his last minute illness will not fall on deaf ears. No, Father Jorge, it won’t. They will help lift up his country, give it back its reputation. They will help rebuild a holy Church, with holy vocations. They will help us to open our hearts and let the grace of those who want to live in it penetrate.
Farewell, Father Jorge
And we will meet again very soon because in Heaven there is neither time nor space. And we will enjoy with you everything that awaits us there. Today, Father Jorge, enjoy the re-encounter with all those who left before you: your loved ones, your community companions, your spiritual children, and above all the presence of the Father to whom Father Kentenich will lead you, the beloved and blessed Virgin Mary, your Mother Thrice Admirable and Christ of whom you were always a reflection.
On the day of the Lord’s Ascension, we will be sad as those first apostles were, but today, only words of gratitude will come from our hearts. Farewell, Father Jorge.
Original Spanish 2020-05-21. Translated by María Aragón, Monterrey, México