At a Mass for Argentina’s bicentennial, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, called on the faithful to remember that the country has a “mother” in the Virgin Mary, and urged them to work as her children for “peace and harmony.”
The Mass took place on the feast of the national patroness, Our Lady of Lujan.
After recalling the example of Mary who “shows great care for Argentina from deep down in her heart, beginning with the poor,” Cardinal Bergoglio underscored that Argentineans must not allow themselves to be overcome by despair.
“Let us look to the Virgin Mary and ask her not to let us go. We ask her for the grace to know how to work for our homeland, to make it grow in peace and harmony, to give us the grace to feel we are brothers and sisters, removing all hatred and anger from among us,” the cardinal said.
During the festivities for the bicentennial later that afternoon, the executive director of the Department of the Laity of the Argentinean Bishops’ Conference read the “Manifestation of Hope,” which expressed the commitment of the laity to work for the respect of “the dignity of human life … the strengthening of our institutions, citizen participation and education.”
“Today we wish to proclaim this manifesto, which is a true civic commitment of the bicentennial, so that it will be burned in our hearts and be a sign of our civic conduct,” the statement said.
At 3:00 p.m. those present lit candles as a sign of their commitment to “illuminate” the homeland and make it a “new light of hope for Argentina.” Afterward, they prayed an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, a tradition started by the bishops during the political crisis of 2001-2002.
Similar ceremonies took place in other cities across the country.