La Rioja (Agenzia Fides) - The northern province of Argentina, La Rioja is preparing for the beatification of Bishop Enrique Angelelli, of priests Carlos Murias and Gabriel Longueville and layman Wenceslao Pedernera, martyrs killed during the last Argentine dictatorship (1976-1983). "It is an event that goes beyond our province, it has an important national and Latin American dimension, it is a grace for the whole Church", declared the Bishop of La Rioja, Mgr. Dante Gustavo Braida. The beatification mass will be celebrated in the provincial capital on 27 April, presided over by Pope Francis’ envoy, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. (See Fides 15/01/2019)
The following day, a mass of thanksgiving will be celebrated in Rome, in the presence of the Argentine bishops.
"The life and the martyrdom of these followers of Jesus are the 'joy of all the people", reads a note from the diocese sent to Agenzia Fides.
Angelelli, who was part of a group of bishops who denounced human rights violations committed during the dictatorship, died on August 4, 1976 after the car he was driving overturned on a highway in La Rioja. At the time of his death, Angelelli, who was 53 years old, was drafting a report regarding the investigation into the murder of Murias and Longueville by the army. The military regime had tried to make believe that the Bishop's death was due to injuries caused in the alleged car accident near the city of Punta de los Llanos, but then justice showed that the accident had been caused by another car and that the bishop died due to a blow inflicted on his neck.
Murias and Longueville had been kidnapped, tortured and shot on July 18, 1976 in Chamical, while the lay Pedernera was murdered in the district of Chilecito, also in Rioja a week later.
"He was in love with the faith of the poor. He was a priest who took care of the last and brought them God’s consolation", wrote the Argentine bishops. "The death of Angelelli and the way he died are the clear crowning of a coherent life with his convictions and the mission of the shepherd, which is to give his life for his flock. Thus he sealed with his blood his commitment to peace, justice and the integral dignity of the human person, to the love of Christ and of the poor, in full coherence with the Gospel". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 15/02/2019)