The Pope recognized the miracle that occurred through the intercession of the Argentine cardinal who, as president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, held the World Youth Days born from the intuition of John Paul II. It involves the recovery of a one and a half year old child poisoned by inhaling glitter. The heroic virtues of a rogationist priest and two founders of religious congregations are recognized.
Salvatore Cernuzio – Vatican News
Argentine Cardinal Edoardo Francisco Pironio will be beatified. Many knew him as the “friend of God”, as the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis, defined him. For everyone, he was the one who supported and then held the World Youth Days, fulfilling a deep desire of John Paul II. Pope Francis recognized the miracle attributed to his intercession during the audience this Wednesday, November 8, granted to Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Dicastery of the Causes of Saints, and authorized the promulgation of the Decrees on the heroic virtues of a rogationist priest , Giuseppe Marrazzo, and two founders of religious congregations, Eliswa of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the Vakayil century, and Maria Francesca Foresti, in the Eleonora century. All three become venerable.
Faith learned from mother, the ability to love
Among the participants in the Second Vatican Council as a “specialist”, for a long time professor, then a close collaborator of Wojtyla who wanted him as president of the then Pontifical Council for the Laity, Pironio, born in Nueve de Julio (Argentina), in 1920, ordained priest in 1943, he was a much loved figure in his Argentina, in the Roman Curia, in the world. This is also due to those who knew him, as they spoke of his ability to make whoever met him feel loved. The fruit, probably, of that faith that – said John Paul II in his funeral homily – the future Blessed learned “in his mother’s lap”. A faith, therefore, “transmitted in dialect”, using a typical expression of Pope Francis.
The memory of Archbishop Bergoglio
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, then provincial of the Jesuits, personally knew Pironio as auxiliary bishop of Mar del Plata (1964-1972). The archbishop of Buenos Aires also participated in the V National Meeting of Priests, organized by the Argentine Episcopal Conference, focused on the cardinal’s priestly testimony, on the tenth anniversary of his death. In a subsequent interview he said about Pironio: “When you spoke to him, he always gave you the feeling that he felt like he was the worst man in the world, the worst sinner. He opened a panorama of holiness from his profound humility. He opened horizons for you, you experienced that he never closed doors to anyone, even people he knew didn’t understand him.”
Service in the Curia
In Argentina, Pironio always dealt with people, as a teacher, rector and vicar. In 1975, he was appointed pro-prefect of the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes. The following year he received the purple. In 1984, he was appointed president of the then Pontifical Council for the Laity, a position he held until 1996. He himself reported, years later, his feelings upon assuming this position: “At the time, it seemed to me, as it seemed to many, that I had “I had been relegated to a second-class position. Instead, I discovered that I had been promoted to lay status. The laity, in fact, form the majority of God’s people.” “In this Pontifical Council”, he said, “I was able to work so that the great ecclesiastical movements, which are a true gift from God and a grace of the Holy Spirit, could be inserted harmoniously and feel welcomed in the life of the local Churches. I am happy, So, to end my service to the Church there: work in contact with the laity, exactly as when I began my ministry many years ago”.
The idea of WYD
As head of the Dicastery, he developed the Pope’s idea of a great meeting that would involve young men and women from all over the world. A small idea that developed over time to become one of the biggest events in the Catholic Church: World Youth Day. For Pironio, the beginning of his service in the Curia also corresponded to the discovery of a prostate tumor that led, with great suffering, to his death in Rome, on February 5, 1998. The body was transferred to Argentina, to the Marian sanctuary of Luján, in the same place where he received Baptism and episcopal ordination. The decree on the heroicity of virtues was promulgated on February 18, 2022.
As for the miracle attributed to his intercession, it is the miraculous cure of a one and a half year old child, Juan Manuel, who was poisoned after inhaling glitter powder used by his mother for restoration work. The boy inhaled and accidentally ingested the powder, which caused him ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). He was rushed to hospital in a “serious” condition and was soon transferred to intensive care. For doctors, he was close to death.
It was December 2, 2006 and, on that day, the “March of Hope” was taking place, an initiative created by Pironio. For the occasion, the parish priest distributed a pamphlet with the cardinal’s spiritual testament. From that moment on, the boy’s parents began to ask for his intercession, praying the prayer in the pamphlet. The mother also invited other people to join the request. Two days later, the first improvements were already noticeable. Five days later, the boy was reacting, lucid and breathing spontaneously. On December 13, he was released from the hospital. The “causal link between invocation and rapid, complete and lasting recovery, which cannot be explained scientifically”, was found.
The testimony of the three new Venerables
Together with Pironio, the Pope recognized the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Giuseppe Marrazzo, a professed member of the Congregation of Rogationists. Born in Puglia, from a peasant family, he is remembered for his apostolate in Messina, where he dedicated himself especially to confessions following the model of the Croatian Capuchin Saint Leopoldo Mandić.
The Servant of God Eliswa of the Blessed Virgin Mary (born Eliswa Vakayil), was born in 1831 in Kerala (India), into a wealthy family of very religious landowners. As a widow she chose a life of prayer and solitude, dedicated herself to caring for the poor and lived in a simple hut. In 1862, together with the Italian Discalced Carmelite Father Leopoldo Beccaro, she created Kerala’s first local Congregation, the Teresian Carmelite Sisters, dedicated to the education of poor and orphaned girls and assistance to the abandoned and needy. Through her activity, Mother Eliswa contributed to the human and intellectual advancement of women in the complex social and religious context of India at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Maria Francesca Foresti was the founder of the Congregation of Franciscan Adoring Sisters. Born in 1898 in Bologna, Italy, she founded several movements and brotherhoods. Attempts that were not always successful. In 1919, she shared with Padre Pio the idea of dedicating herself to the contemplative life, cultivating a particular devotion to the Eucharist. She dedicated herself to the education of young people through teaching the Catechism, educating them to a life of obedience, respecting the freedom of each individual. With poor health due to heart problems, she passed away at the age of 55.