.- As the Catholic Church in Latin America prepares to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of its patron Saint, St. Toribio de Mogrovejo, the Vatican has released Pope Benedict’s official message for the event in which he recalls the Saint’s profound impact on the region and the world.
St. Toribio was the second archbishop of Lima, Peru and celebrations for his feast are being held in Lima from April 24th through the 29th.
In his message for the occasion, Pope Benedict XVI addressed Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, as well as the bishops, priests, religious and laity from around Latin America participating in the event.
He invited them to "consider this anniversary as a providential opportunity to reactivate the journey of the Church in the various dioceses, drawing inspiration from the life and work of St. Toribio."
That saint, the Holy Father wrote, "distinguished himself for his selfless commitment to the edification and consolidation of the ecclesial communities of his day. He did so with a great spirit of communion and collaboration, always seeking unity as is shown by his calling of the third provincial council of Lima (1582-1583), ... one fruit of which was the so-called Catechism of St. Toribio."
The pontiff also highlighted the conciliar seminary in Lima, founded by St. Toribio which still exists today.
He expressed his particular hope that the seminary "may continue to give abundant fruit, precisely at a time when it is urgently necessary to promote vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life in order to face the immense task of building Christian communities that gather joyfully on Sunday, perform the Sacraments, foment spiritual life, transmit and cultivate the faith, bear witness of resolute hope, and always practice charity."
"St. Toribio's profound missionary spirit," the Holy Father continued, was apparent in "his efforts to learn various languages in order to be able to preach personally to all those entrusted to his pastoral care."
The Pope concluded his message saying that this fact "was also a sign of his respect for the dignity of all human beings, whatever their condition, in whom he always sought to promote the joy of feeling themselves to be true children of God."