Río Gallegos (Agenzia Fides) - On the 500th anniversary of the first Mass in Argentine territory, in 1520, in the current city of Puerto San Julián, Santa Cruz, the Bishop of Rio Gallegos, Mgr. Jorge García Cuerva, celebrated on 1st April in the seat of the Bishopric a mass of thanksgiving without the presence of the faithful. The measures adopted to contain the Covid-19 pandemic in fact forced the cancellation of the events planned for some time for this jubilee (see Fides, 11/3/2020; 18/3/2020).
Pope Francis sent a letter to express his closeness. Although due to the pandemic these days, humanity seems to walk "with a sad face" like the disciples of Emmaus, the Pope wrote, God is always among us in the sacrament of the Eucharist and encourages us to walk. "The presence of Jesus in the Eucharist which, silently and discreetly, has accompanied us for over 500 years - writes the Pope -, is the sacrament of the covenant that God wanted to seal with his people, with our people: He is in among us, supporting the journey. This certainty that we have inherited from our parents and grandparents is the spiritual reserve that has accompanied, shaped and forged the soul of our nation and hope that will also shape the future of our children and grandchildren".
In his homily, the Bishop took his cue from the Gospel passage of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes: "Jesus saw a large multitude that came to him and saw them in need and hungry". In this period of pandemic, he said, "the needs of our people seem to multiply and, therefore, the temptation to look the other way may arise". For this reason, he recalled that "our gaze is a reflection of the mercy of Jesus, who continues to choose sinners, the discarded of our society".
In the face of the suffering, loneliness, poverty and difficulties of many people due to the pandemic, the Bishop invited to ask oneself "What can we do?". "We can offer what little we have … Who among us does not have his 'five loaves and two fish'? We all have them! "And he added:" If we are willing to put them in the hands of the Lord, they will be enough for there to be a little more love, peace, justice and joy in the world. God is able to multiply our small gestures of solidarity".
Referring to the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the first Mass, Mgr. García Cuerva commented that "this April 1st we were suppose to be in San Julián and live three days of meeting and celebration, many of whom came from all over the diocese and from other parts of the country and from abroad". Then he underlined: "500 years after that endeavor, we ask the Lord Eucharist for our life to regain meaning, desire, enthusiasm and put it at the service of the poorest brothers, so that the desire of Jesus can become reality; the civilization of love, in the logic of fraternity, in the logic of giving, of meeting in diversity; because nobody saves himself alone, as the Pope told us, we are all in the same boat, in the middle of the storm, rowing together; then we all sit at his table, the table of the Eucharist, the table of the Bread of Life". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 3/4/2020)