Montevideo (Agenzia Fides) - The Archbishop of Brasilia, Cardinal Paulo Cezar Costa, will preside over the rite of Beatification, as Papal Legate, representative of the Holy Father Francis, of Monsignor Jacinto Vera, first Bishop of Montevideo. According to the bishops' request, the celebration will take place next May 6, the day of Bishop Vera's birth to heaven in the year 1881, in Pan de Azúcar, at the height of his apostolic mission.
Announcing the date of the beatification, an event that "fills us with joy", the Episcopal Conference of Uruguay recalls that on December 17, Pope Francis authorized the publication of the decree of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognizing the miracle attributed to the intercession of Bishop Vera (see Fides, 21/12/2022). The miracle concerned the healing of a 14-year-old girl on October 8, 1936. After an operation for appendicitis, the girl was struck by an infection which worsened until it reached a hopeless situation, despite all the care provided. One of the girl's uncles brought her a picture with a relic of the Servant of God Jacinto Vera, asked the girl to put it on the wound and to pray, both her and her family. That same night, the pains ceased, the fever ceased, and the next morning a complete, scientifically unexplained recovery was noted.
The Bishops of Uruguay pointed out that Bishop Vera "led our Church in difficult times, brought the freshness of life and the grace of the Gospel to all, without distinction. At the end of his days, he received unanimous admiration from the society of his time, even from his own adversaries, as the tributes that followed his death showed". Finally, the bishops urge everyone to prepare for his beatification, "which will be a historic event in the history of our Church."
Jacinto Vera was born on July 3, 1813, on a boat in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil, while his family traveled from the Canary Islands to Uruguay. As a young man, he worked in the fields with his family in Maldonado and Toledo. He discovered his priestly vocation at the age of 19. Incorporated into the army, he was discharged in order to continue his studies toward the priesthood. Since there were no training institutes in Uruguay, he moved to Buenos Aires for his studies and here he celebrated his first Mass on June 6, 1841. After his ordination he served as assistant parish priest and then parish priest of the Villa de Guadalupe de Canelones, for 17 years.
On October 4, 1859, he was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Uruguay. He received episcopal ordination in the Mother Church of Montevideo on July 16, 1865.
He participated in the First Vatican Council in 1870. In 1878 the Diocese of Montevideo was created, which covers all of Uruguay, and Bishop Vera became its first bishop on July 13, 1878. He died during a mission on May 6, 1881. At his funeral, he was recognized by all as a saint.
Describing Monsignor Vera's evangelizing efforts, the Bishops of Uruguay recall that he was "a missionary and an apostle of the city and the countryside, he traveled the whole country three times. He helped the wounded of the civil wars and carried out peace missions. A father of the poor, a friend of his priests, he was a promoter of the commitment of lay Christians in the life of the society of the time. He promoted Catholic education and the Catholic press." He also founded the Seminary for the formation of future priests and promoted the arrival of numerous religious congregations in Uruguay, including Salesians, Dominicans, Vincentians, Capuchins, Jesuits...
The history of the evangelization of Uruguay begins in 1624, with the colonization by the Spanish and the arrival of the first missionaries who dedicated themselves to the evangelization of the indigenous peoples. Montevideo, an apostolic vicariate in 1832 (with territory taken from the diocese of Buenos Aires), became a diocese in 1878 and an archdiocese in 1897. In 1830, the country's Constitution proclaimed Catholicism as the state religion while in 1917 the separation of church and state was sanctioned. Today, the Catholic Church in Uruguay is divided into an ecclesiastical district, with the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Montevideo and 8 suffragan dioceses. The inhabitants of Uruguay are 3,531,000 of whom 2,718 are Catholics, there are 236 parishes, 19 bishops, 222 diocesan priests and 205 priests, 50 religious non-priests and 614 are women religious, there are a total of 88 Major seminarians (33 diocesan and 55 religious). (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 31/1/2023)
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