Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, celebrated Mass on Sunday at the Cathedral of Santiago and officially presented a statue of Our Lady of Carmel as a gift from Pope Benedict XVI to Chile. The pilgrim statue will travel to the various cities in the country that were affected by the February earthquake.
The Vicar General for Ministry in Santiago and the National Coordinator of the Continental Mission, Msgr. Cristian Precht remarked that this statue “will accompany us in our sorrow—mothers can always identify with sorrow, thanks be to God—but it is also here to renew us in our faith.”
Father Carlos Cox, who is rector of the Shrine of Maipu and will coordinate the pilgrim statue’s tour throughout the country, added, “The most important aspect of this statue is that it brings us close to Jesus, who encourages us and helps us with what is essential in the Continental Mission, which is the encounter with the Living Christ.”
The pilgrimage of the statue “does not only have a religious meaning; it also seeks to awaken Chile to a new stage in her life that not only has to do with reconstruction but with re-creating as well. For this reason we believe this is perhaps going to be one of the most powerful and strongest aspects of our bicentennial, not only from a religious perspective, but also from the perspective of our society.”
The statue was created by Ecuadoran artist Ricardo Villalba and depicts Our Lady of Carmel standing upon the Shrine of Maipu, with the Cross of Chile at her back and the Child Jesus in her left arm.