Santiago (Agenzia Fides) - "The precariousness and fragility, in addition to the pandemic, forces all of us, in particular the authorities, representatives and leaders of society, to put aside personal and sectoral interests to truly resume the ways of dialogue with generous agreements. We are a people on a journey, only if we are united we will be able to overcome injustice and get out of this crisis".
Thus writes the Standing Committee of the Bishops’ Conference of Chile in the message published for the solemnity of the Virgin of Carmen, which is celebrated on July 16th. The founding fathers entrusted the life of Chile and the Chileans to her. According to popular tradition that is passed on from generation to generation, every year the festival is solemnly celebrated with a pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Maipù, where prayers, religious dances and festive moments in honor of the Virgin take place.
"The civil calendar marks a holiday on July 16, as a sign of the gratitude of a people who entrust themselves to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her title of Our Lady of Carmen, Mother and Queen of Chile, consoler of the afflicted", write the Bishops, who emphasize: "This year, for July 16, we lay our prayers, popular devotion and religious dances at the feet of the Mother, together with enormous sadness, pain and worries of this time of pandemic that we are experiencing, by living, finding comfort and hope in her".
Many this year will not be able to make the pilgrimage to Marian churches and shrines to celebrate this feast as usual, "because we have to take care of each other" is what is written in the message. "The Virgin of Carmen embraces all of us and whispers to us that Jesus is always with us and never abandons us. Her maternal hand, sweet and always open, lifts us up and makes us return to her beloved Son, and to find Him in the suffering brother and sister".
The Bishops therefore emphasize that Mary "encourages us to be present, rather than with words, through physical or remote presence alongside those who suffer". "We want to be, together with the large family of those who live in Chile, builders of a more just society, with a more austere life and greater care for the most fragile and for all Creation - it what is written in the final part of the message -. Today we strongly experience our weakness and the suffering of our brothers tears us apart; therefore we will continue to do what is within our reach to be close to those who are alone and abandoned. With you, Virgin of Carmen, together on this journey, today we entrust to you what we are, what we have and what we live". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 15/7/2020)