Colombia “is a nation that has learned to turn to the intercession of Holy Mary to confront difficulties. It is a nation that celebrates its national holiday hand in hand without Our Lady of Chiquinquira,” said Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Vatican City State Government.
At a Mass with 25 diplomats accredited with the Holy See, Cardinal Bertello said the faith and strength of Colombians is what has allowed them to overcome difficulties and fears throughout history.
For his part, Colombia's ambassador to the Holy See, Cesar Mauricio Velasquez, thanked the Church for its continual spiritual and material aid to many poor and abandoned communities in the country.
“In recent months, millions in aid have been sent to people across the nation. Colombia will always be thankful for the work and service carried out by the Church to the needy and abandoned,” he said.
Recently the Colombian government stepped up efforts to convince Pope Benedict XVI to visit the country before or after his trip to Brazil for World Youth Day Rio 2013.
The Bishops’ Conference of Colombia issued its own invitation to the Holy Father during an ad limina visit on June 22. According to the Italian newspaper La Stampa, the Pope responded, “God will decide.”
On Colombia's Independence Day marked on July 20, a Vatican official called on the country to remember their patroness, Our Lady of Chiquinquira, as they celebrate.