Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blessed Ceferino, Pray for Us

Last Sunday the Pope, after leading the midday Angelus in St. Peter's Square, greeted the pilgrims from Argentina and the Salesians present at the audience. He spoke of the beatification ceremony of Ceferino Namuncura’ which was to take place a short time later in Argentina by the Pope's secretary of state, Salesian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Blessed Ceferino (1886-1905) was a student of the Salesian Society in Argentina, and a Mapuche. The Mapuche are the indigenous inhabitants of southern and central Chile and southern Argentina. His father was chief of the tribe.

Benedict XVI said: "We give thanks to the Lord for the extraordinary testimony of this young 19-year-old student, who, inspired by his devotion for the Eucharist and love for Christ, wanted to be a Salesian and a priest to show his fellow Mapuche the path to heaven."

"It is the first time that a beatification is done, not in a great city, but in a small village, though it is great for this crowd of Ceferino's friends," Cardinal Bertone said in the homily. This ceremony "means remembering and appreciating the deepest and oldest traditions of the Mapuche people, brave and indomitable…let it help us to discover the fruitfulness of the Gospel that never destroys authentic values found in a culture, but rather assumes them, purifying and perfecting them."

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