CHILE, Maria Fischer, Luciana Rosas and Claudia Echenique •
On 3 March, Fr. Ignacio Cruz, a Chilean Schoenstatt Father, lost his battle to COVID-19 after becoming infected, together with other priests at the residence for elderly priests in Bellavista, and after many prayers for him and the other sick priests from people in Chile, Brazil and many other countries. Thanks to the communiques by Fr. Miguel Kast, many honored and remembered Fr. Ignacio, whom they met at some point on their covenant journeys as parish priest, spiritual director, superior, and brother. —
Behind each of the 71,504 victims of the pandemic in Germany, President Frank-Walter Seinmeier said recently, there is a story and person who has died. “Behind these numbers, are people who have lost their loved ones, people who were afraid, fearful, who fought and sometimes were not even able to say goodbye,” the German president said. “Behind this, there is infinite sadness and infinite pain, and yes, sometimes also bitterness.” Behind each of the 115.000.000 cases, behind each of the 2.500.000 COVID-19 deaths in the world, there is a story, a history, and a vocation of life, a person who has died.
How many Schoenstatters are in this number? We don’t know, but among them this week is Fr. Ignacio Cruz, who was part of the founding generation of Schoenstatt in Chile, “a great and good priest,” as our Brazilian collaborator Luciana Rosas said. He was there when she made her covenant of love many years ago.
“I thank God for the gift of the life of Fr. Ignacio in my life. “I would not be a Schoenstatt Father without Fr. Ignacio’s support, understanding and witness. Our Sion of Christ region in Brazil owes much to him, who was our superior for many years and dedicated himself fully to our Tabor in Brazil. Thank you, dear Fr. Ignacio, prepare the heavenly way for us,” commented Fr. Alexandre Awi de Mello from Rome, one of nearly 600 people from Italy, Germany, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela who followed the live stream of the funeral Mass on 4 March. At the time of writing, more than 2.500 people had viewed this video on YouTube.
Knight of Fire
How much love, work, prayers, accompaniment is behind the events of his life that can be found in the Schoenstatt Father’s communique!
There was a great deal of emotion at the funeral Mass, with Fr. Fernando Baeza as the main celebrant, who highlighted Fr. Ignacio Cruz’s simplicity, humility, and love for all the tasks that were given to him in the parish, in Brazil, in Chile, in the community. “He was able to help many brothers,” he said in his homily, “accompanying them, welcoming them, strengthening them in faith.”
He mentioned that Fr. Miguel, responsible for the care facility, visited him in hospital in his last days and was able to have a short conversation with him. In that moment, Fr. Ignacio recalled a saying by Fr. Kentenich, who in the face of difficulty, said that the good God always prepares us for larger nappies, giving his children everything they need for their lives. He repeated the phrase, and then said: “These are the nappies that God had planned for me. This is the Lent that I’m being called to live.”
Melissa Rossatti from Caieras wrote: “A great priest and a father! He was my spiritual director in my youth. May the good God receive him in the eternal Schoenstatt!”
Fr. Pablo Mullin, the current novice master in Tupãrenda wrote: “Thank you Fr. Ignacio, for your self-giving and being a model priest, a son and ally of Mary. A priest in the image of the Good Shepherd.”
“A great man, a holy priest, and a faithful friend. He completed his mission with uncommon dignity,” commented Helio Sanches Silveira from Brazil and Joaquin Leiva Mestica said: “Thank you Fr. Ignacio, for your witness and you fatherly closeness.”
Yes, thank you.