CHILE, Bárbara Brain •
So much excitement! Everything was so beautiful! What an impressive testimony! What joy! Thank you, thank you! … These are some of the comments from the people who gathered for the Pentecost vigil on 8 June at Paseo Bulnes, in downtown Santiago.—
Perhaps it was not a crowd in the literal sense of the word, but there is no doubt that the fire of the Holy Spirit touched each of the more than 3,000 souls that gathered in the streets to express their hope in the eruption of the divine spirit.
Hymns, talks, prayers, the presence of the large pilgrim image of the Virgin of Carmen and the testimonies that played an important part in the activities, but it was the arrival of Jesus in the form of the Blessed Sacrament in the streets that, quite literally, brought all those present for the vigil to their knees. Surrounded by altar servers on foot, a small bell and the incense smoke from the thurible, the entrance of Jesus into the sacrament of the Eucharist, carried by the Archbishop’s vicar, Cristián Roncaglolio, undoubtedly culminated the great pilgrimage that transformed the streets, a square, and the city center into the greatest and most prayerful of cathedrals.
Five MCs, who represented the various communities who worked together to call for a new eruption of the Holy Spirit on the Chilean Church, provided an impressive lesson in how God’s Spirit transformed a housewife, an engineer, a student, a dentist, a civil engineer into obedient and vivid instruments for the will of God. Sound engineers, writers, set designers, playwrights, stagehands, directors and general managers were improvised roles taken up by another group of lay people, whose normal activities are very different from what they did to ensure the successful planning for the vigil.
Such diverse abilities are impossible unless they are inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Why and what for?
The initial motivation of this meeting was to note the negative impact and the general discouragement of Chilean Catholics as a result of the terrible and shameful abuse by a group of consecrated people against children, young people and vulnerable groups. To make matters worse, these things were covered up by policy of concealment of the crimes committed, naively believing that this would preserve the Church’s good name. A Church that, in general, is and has been an example of self-sacrifice and service to all and especially to Chile’s poorest people.
Everything good was instantaneously destroyed with the proof of the abuses commmited today, during the 21st century. The Church has suffered crises before and we know how she found the way, the truth and the life to restore herself. The first part of healing – the truth – is in the hands of the justice authorities, but much more is needed to make all things new again. This healing is in the heart of each person, where a small flame of home continues to burn, the light of Jesus’ promise: “I will send you the Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
The Holy Spirit is a concrete person within Holy Trinity, and very importantly, Pope Francis emphasizes us: The Holy Spirit is the one who inspires us, Hh is the one who transforms us. This is what we asked for, implored and demanded: Come, Holy Spirit, come! Come, Holy Spirit, come!
The future will tell what will happen among the 3,000 apostles who received this call again during the Pentecost vigil.
Photos: Office of the Archbishop of Santiago
Original: Spanish, 11 June. Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Cape Town, South Africa