Heroism? Being a Christian Journalist

Member of the Press to Be Recognized as Blessed

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By Carmen Elena Villa
ROME, JUNE 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Being a good journalist is easy; being a Christian one is heroic, according to the postulator of the beatification cause of the first lay journalist to be raised to the altars.

Manuel Lozano Garrido, better known as «Lolo,» will be beatified Saturday in his home town of Linares, Spain.

The president of the Vatican’s social communications council described the journalist as «passionate for truth.» Archbishop Claudio Celli said this Tuesday at a press conference regarding Lolo’s beatification.

It was at that press conference that Father Rafael Higueras, postulator of his cause, contended that «to be a good journalist is easy, but to be a Christian journalist is heroic.»
The beatification ceremony will be presided over by Benedict XVI’s representative, Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.
Archbishop Celli pointed out how Lolo always linked «the news and the Good News of the Gospel; he saw Jesus as the paradigm of communication.»

The roots of his journalistic work were in the Eucharist and in his love for the Virgin Mary, the Vatican official added.

Lolo was born in Linares, Spain, on Aug. 9, 1920, and died in the same city on Nov. 3, 1971.  He joined Catholic Action as an adolescent and, during the Spanish Civil War, secretly brought Communion to prisoners until he himself was arrested.  As a journalist, Lolo wrote for the daily «Ya,» the reviews «Telva» and «Vida Nueva» and the Associated Press.  In 1942, at only age 22, he began to suffer from spondylitis, which deformed his body and left him an invalid. In 1962 the journalist lost his sight.  Despite the illness, he received professional recognitions, such as the prestigious Bravo journalism award.  Lolo founded Sinai, a magazine for sick people. He also authored nine books, which he dictated to his sister Lucía and his friends.
Apostle of the pen
Lolo’s home became an apostolic center. Dozens of people went there in search of advice, guidance and consolation.
Among them was Benedictine monk Juan Javier Flores Arcas, rector of Rome’s St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum. Father Flores reflected with ZENIT about the years of Lolo’s intellectual productivity — the 60s and early 70s — «years in which a sense of evangelization, of openness, of the media was awakened in the Church. And he, with his situation, realized that this was his mission in the Church.»

Father Higueras explained how Lolo saw his mission to evangelize. The priest noted how the journalist once said: «If each one of us had a microphone to speak about Christ, wouldn’t it be a wonderful field for the New Evangelization?»

The postulator, in fact, knew Lolo personally and accompanied him during the last nine years of his life, celebrating Mass in his home. He was present at the moment of his death while he prayed the Ave Maria.

Joy in suffering

Fundamental for Lolo was a pilgrimage he made to Lourdes, where he said to the Virgin Mary «I offer you joy, blessed joy.»

Father Higueras recounted how «on the train full of sick people, he thought that so much wealth of redemption, as is the pain of those who suffer, could not be lost.»

On his return from Lourdes, he founded «Sinai» — the name both for his magazine for the sick and for the association. The Sinai association gathers small groups of 12 sick people, linked with a monastery, who offer their prayer and suffering for the media.

«To meet with him was an oasis of peace, of interior life, of faith and this has made for an intense legacy,» Father Flores affirmed.
On illness and its apparent uselessness in the eyes of the world, Manuel Lozano Garrido wrote: «We have reserved for us a very great enterprise: to help men to be saved, united to you. … Lord, make us aware of our vocation and its profound meaning. … Take up, Lord, as a bunch of lilies in your nailed hands, our uselessness, to give it a universal redeeming efficacy.»

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