ARGENTINA, María Fischer •
“I entrust myself to your prayers and closeness to live this new mission with joy…”, Father Jorge González wrote to me on the afternoon of the day of the announcement of his appointment as auxiliary bishop of his native diocese, La Plata, where he has been working as a pastor and rector of the cathedral for a little more than a year, with the great pastoral project of “sanctifying the cathedra”l. A half hour after the simultaneous announcement in Rome and Argentina, an article about “our” Father Jorge appeared on Schoenstatt.org, and the greetings, congratulations, and prayer commitments for the first Schoenstatt bishop in Argentina began to arrive.—
Happy with the news of “our” Fr. Jorge González!
“Many congratulations and blessings for the future task, Fr. Jorge. May the life of the covenant be always a reference and support in the service to which the Lord entrusts you. Congratulations to the Church in Argentina”, commented Father José María García Sepúlveda, Director of the Schoenstatt Movement in Spain.
Father Alejandro Blanco, General Secretary of the Federation of Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests, who is from La Plata as the new bishop, immediately communicated with the editorial staff of Schoenstatt.org, offering contact (which we already had), information, and photos.
“We were working with him in pre-marital catechesis throughout 2019,” commented the Pagalday couple from the Family Federation of La Plata. “This year we could not begin because of the pandemic”.
“More than happy,” commented Father José María Iturreria, advisor of the Archdiocese of La Plata. “Yes, it was to be expected. This commits us even more to him to offer him our support and prayer as a Schoenstatt Family from La Plata!
“Really excellent news,” said another from La Plata – Father Juan Pablo Catoggio, who confirmed that Father Jorge is the first bishop in Argentina “who belongs to the Federation or Institute. Yes, there are others who made the covenant as bishops or before”.
From Córdoba, Argentina, Juan Barbosa comments: “IMMENSE JOY! Thank you, Holy Spirit, for this beautiful news for the Church and for our blessed land, which has been so punished. Happy with the news of “our” Fr. Jorge González!
“Called to be the image of the Father in the family of the Church”
Upon learning of his appointment, Fr. Jorge González sent a message to the community: “From the beginning of the apostolate, the Churches have been closely linked to the bishops. The bishop, in reality, is a sign of Jesus: head and shepherd. There are Churches that, for different circumstances, because of their extension and complexity, also have auxiliary bishops,” he explained.
“As Cardinal Pironio said: The auxiliary bishop, sacramentally united to the residential bishop, is called to be the image of the Father in the family of the Church. Besides being a teacher of prayer, a sign of unity and a witness of hope.
“Many will have learned this morning and others will have learned through this greeting that I am recording, that Pope Francis appointed me Auxiliary Bishop of La Plata,” he said. “Pray that I may live this mission that the Church now entrusts to me in this spirit of which dear Pironio spoke,” he asked.
Cardinal Eduardo Francisco Pironio (Nueve de Julio, December 3rd 1920 – Vatican City, February 5th 1998), as secretary general of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), had great influence on the Second General Conference of Latin American Bishops in Medellín (1968), which defined the profile of the post-conciliar Latin American Church. The Argentinian theologian Juan Carlos Scannone SJ, who died in 2019, places Pironio in one of the four branches of the Theology of Liberation (TDL in Spanish), calling it “Liberation Theology from Pastoral Practice based on the Social Doctrine of the Church” and completely away from Marxism. Benedict XVI proclaimed him “servant of God” and his cause of beatification is introduced. As president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Eduardo Pironio made the proposal to institute the World Youth Day (WYD), of which he is considered a co-founder. Cardinal Pironio was responsible for the WYDs and accompanied John Paul II in Buenos Aires (1987), Santiago de Compostela (1989), Częstochowa (1991), Denver (1993) and Manila (1995). John Paul II recalled Cardinal Pironio’s great contribution to WYD at his funeral Mass on Saturday, February 7, 1998: “How can we forget the great contribution he made to the celebrations of World Youth Day? I would like to give public thanks here to this brother of ours, who gave me great help in the exercise of my Petrine ministry”.
“In the heart of the bishop must enter all those who walk in the archdiocese and also those who are more distant”
“I am very happy that the Pope has thought of a son for our Church, of someone born in this city, and I was just born, raised, and knew the experience of the Church in a neighborhood church,” recalled Bishop Jorge Gonzalez. “Some even commented that I would be the first bishop born in this city or in the limits of the diocese as they are now.
“Clearly I am beginning this journey, not in my own strength, but trusting the Lord, confident that I will learn much from everyone. I have to learn from everyone and you have to accompany me,” he asked. “And also with great confidence in our Mother Mary. She, from the beginning of my life, accompanied and sustained me throughout my ministry, and I know she will continue to do so, very closely,” he said.
“In this faith I begin this journey, I want to greet you all. I know that my heart has to expand because in the heart of the bishop all those who walk in the archdiocese and also those who are more distant have to enter, so I entrust myself to your prayers,” he concluded.
He continues to be the cathedral’s parish priest this year
The Archbishop of La Plata, Victor Manuel Fernandez, thanked Pope Francisco for the appointment of Fr. Jorge Gonzalez as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese.
In a letter to the community, he expressed his joy at this designation and especially valued the Holy Father’s haste in making this decision after the transfer of Monsignor Baisi, Auxiliary Bishop of La Plata, as Bishop of Puerto Iguazú. Furthermore, he stressed that the Pope has thought of someone native to La Plata, who will be the first bishop born in the current territory of the archdiocese.
“Those who know him know of his dedication, diligence, joy, good taste, and evangelizing fervor, for which he will undoubtedly enrich our Archdiocese with his contribution, just as he did for so many years in his parish of City Bell,” Monsignor Fernandez assured.
“Not long ago he was the pastor and rector of the cathedral church, a role that he will continue to perform during this year. At the same time he will assume several of the tasks that Monsignor Baisi carried out, although his episcopal ordination will not be immediate due to the limits of the quarantine,” he explained.
“I ask that we pray for him, so that the Holy Spirit will strengthen and enlighten him in this new mission and so that he will always feel the maternal protection of Mary,” he concluded.
With material from the Archdiocese of La Plata and the AICA Agency
Original: Spanish 2020-06-06. Translated by Maria Aragón, Monterrey, México