Argentinians Celebrate Memory of Priest Admired by Francis

‘Gaucho Priest’ Who Served Poor Beatified in 2013; Sunday Marked 100th Anniversary of His Death

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The priest described by Pope Francis as a “missionary disciple who [took] faith out onto the streets” was celebrated in his homeland on Sunday.

Jan. 26th marked the 100th anniversary of the death of José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, who was beatified last September. Thousands of faithful from the Valley of Traslasierra of Cordoba and around Argentina attended Holy Mass in memory of the centenary. The Eucharistic celebration marked the end of Brochero Week, an activity that for years has propagated the spirituality of this Argentine missionary priest, known as Father Brochero or the gaucho priest – a model for all priests, not only in his country but throughout Latin America.

The Mass was presided over by the Bishop of Cruz del Eje, Monsignor Santiago Olivera, who at the beginning of the Mass blessed a bust of Father Brochero, which henceforth will be present in the civic works in the site where the shrine will be built in honor of the Blessed and the “Providence” Retreat House, as reported by Aica agency.

Monsignor Olivera pointed out “the paschal meaning of Christian life, which from the sorrow of death leads to true joy knowing the final destiny of the soul justified by the Lord.” Moreover, he referred to the constant presence of Brochero in the hearts of the highlanders.

Keeping in mind Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, Bishop Olivera said that Brochero “spent and exhausted his life for his people so that all could live the joy of the Gospel that the encounter with Jesus produces.” And, he added, as the priest was a close and happy person, “he made of his priestly life a true offering so that his faithful would have the joyful experience of the God who loves them.”

The prelate also reminded that the diocese is living a missionary-vocational year, and he encouraged young people to show that the call to conversion asks for the willingness to leave one’s “nets” and projects to follow the Lord, and not be “tangled” in one’s own desires.

Monsignor Olivera concluded his homily quoting the words that Pope Francis dedicated to the thousands of faithful gathered in the ceremony of Beatification of the Gaucho priest: “Let’s let Bochero enter today, with his mule and everything, into the house of our heart and invite us to pray, to the encounter with Jesus who frees us from ties to go out into the street to seek brothers, to touch Christ’s flesh in those who suffer and need God’s love.  Only in this way will we relish the joy that Father Brochero experienced, anticipation of the happiness that he now enjoys as Blessed in Heaven.”

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