Priest Endorsed as Patron of Trade Unionists

SANTIAGO, Chile, AUG. 22, 2004 ( President Ricardo Lagos was the first to sign a petition to the country’s episcopal conference, requesting that Father Alberto Hurtado be proclaimed patron of Chilean trade unionists.

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The signing took place last week at a parish, where the chief executive joined a caravan of pilgrims going to a shrine of the Jesuit priest (1901-1952).

In this connection, President Lagos and Labor Minister Ricardo Solari had a meeting with the bishops’ conference officials. The meeting was also attended by workers, leading trade unionists, and others.

Father Hurtado, whose imminent canonization was announced last April by the Holy See, is considered one of the most outstanding figures of the history of the Catholic Church in Chile.

He entered the Society of Jesus after obtaining a law degree. As a priest, he dedicated himself to education and the apostolate among young people. He was an assistant of Catholic Action and founded Christ’s Home for the homeless. He was beatified in 1994.

«He discovered Jesus in every poor person,» explains the biography published on the Chilean episcopal conference’s Web page. «He wished to solve immediately the daily tragedies he witnessed, but he also looked for the more profound causes of poverty.»

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