AMERICA/ARGENTINA - "Not even one young person must die for drugs": a year ago Father Viroche's death

Friday, 6 October 2017 drugs   youth   priests   drug trade   violence  

Tucuman (Agenzia Fides) - "Ni un pibe menos por la droga" (Not even one young person must die for drugs): this is what Mgr. Fernando Maletti, Bishop of Merlo-Moreno and representative of the National Commission for drug addiction of the Argentine Bishops' Conference, said to those present in the church, at the beginning of the Mass for Father Juan Viroche’s soul, one year after his death, in circumstances not yet clarified.
On 5 October 2016 Father Juan Heraldo Viroche was found dead in his home in Tucuman, about 70km from the capital. He was well known in the area for his fight against drug trafficking. He was a very positive and dynamic person, and very busy with the families in the area. "Father Juan bravely faced the mafias who manage the drug trade, and had threatened him and others in his community. The circumstances of his tragic death have yet to be clarified by the authorities, but in any case, has revealed an unusual and intolerable seriousness of the situation", says the text of the Episcopal Commission a month after his violent death, without any clarification on behalf of the authorities, who believe he committed suicide (see Fides 4/11/2016).
Yesterday, October 5, at 11 am a Mass in memory of Father Viroche was celebrated in San Cayetano Sanctuary, on the first anniversary of his death. Concelebrated by many priests, there was a huge presence of young people who are recovering from their addiction, accompanied by the communities that host them and follow them along this path.
Mgr. Maletti announced that even in the evening, a Mass was celebrated for Fr, Juan Viroche’s soul in La Florida, Tucumán, by Cardinal Luis Hector Villalba.
The homily of the Bishop of Merlo-Moreno was centered on two words: solidarity and poverty. "Solidarity intended to combat the structural causes of poverty, inequality, lack of work, land and housing, denial of social and labor rights", said the Bishop, who continued: "We need to embrace life. Not even one young person must die for drugs!"
On poverty, let us take the example of Father Juan, "who knew him said that his life was a life given to the poorest, integrated in the world of the poor and poverty. He was a fighter so that poverty, fruit of injustice, would be changed by a culture of evangelical poverty that all baptized and non should live".
In the end, Father Pepe Di Paola, coordinator of the National Commission for the pastoral care of drug addiction, thanked in particular the young people present, who are on the road to drug recovery. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 06/10/2017)