AMERICA/COLOMBIA - 50 years since the death of the first Apostolic Vicar of Buenaventura, Monsignor Gerardo Valencia Cano

Friday, 21 January 2022 missionary animation   human promotion   poverty   bishops  

Bogota (Agenzia Fides) - Today, January 21, marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Monsignor Gerardo Valencia Cano, an outstanding figure for the missionary work carried out in the then Apostolic Vicariate of Buenaventura, of which he was the first Apostolic Vicar. Born on August 26, 1917 in Santo Domingo, Antioquia, he was ordained a priest at the Institute of Foreign Missions of Yarumal (MXY), of which he was also Superior General. He was Apostolic Prefect of Vaupés (1949-1953), Apostolic Vicar of Buenaventura (1953-1972), participated in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (1962-1965), first President of the Department of Missions of CELAM (1966), Director of the Colombian Anthropology Center of the Missions and Ethnia magazine (1966). He organized the First Continental Meeting of the Latin American Missions in Melgar (Tolima) where he proposed the development of a pastoral care for Afro-Latin Americans. He died in the explosion of the plane on which he was returning to Buenaventura, the causes of which have never been clarified. On the 50th anniversary of his death, the Episcopal Conference of Colombia and the Pontifical Mission Societies have organized a virtual forum, which will be broadcast on social networks, to remember his life and his missionary work. Through this forum, informs the note sent to Fides, the intention is to make a historical approach to "Brother Gerardo", as he was known by his people, highlighting his pastoral and missionary journey that he lived based on four pillars: piety, holiness, meditation and prayer.
Monsignor Valencia Cano dedicated his life to the development of important social and educational projects in favor of the poor and street children, who are still active today, strongly criticizing the management of the problems that afflicted the country and the territories entrusted to his pastoral care. He is known for having put into practice the theology of the Second Vatican Council, in which he had participated, in the evangelizing task of the laity, especially with the participation of women in missionary work. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 21/1/2022)