Montevideo (Agenzia Fides) - Commenting on the recognition by Pope Francis of a miracle interceded by Venerable Bishop Jacinto Vera, the first Bishop of Montevideo, and thus on his forthcoming beatification, the Bishops of Uruguay express "great joy" and emphasize it is "a source of joy and gratitude for all of Uruguay". Bishop Vera was born on July 3, 1813 and died on May 6, 1881.
They bishops recall that he was "a missionary and apostle of the city and countryside, traveling all over the country three times".
"He helped the wounded in the civil wars and led missions for peace. He was a father of the poor, a friend of his priests and a promoter of the involvement of lay Christians in the social life of his time. He promoted Catholic education and the Catholic press," say the bishops, "he also founded the Seminary for the formation of future priests and encouraged the settlement of numerous religious communities in Uruguay, including Salesians , Dominicans, Vincentians, Capuchins, Jesuits…".
In their message, the Bishops emphasize that Bishop Vera "led our Church through difficult times, bringing the freshness of life and the grace of the Gospel to everyone without distinction. At the end of his days, Father Jacinto earned unanimous admiration in the society of his time, even from his own opponents. His forthcoming beatification spurs us on to renew our missionary zeal and our desire to serve the country and its people".
Bishop Jacinto Vera was born on July 3, 1813 on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil while his family was en route from the Canary Islands to Uruguay. As a young man he worked with his family in the fields of Maldonado and Toledo. At the age of 19 he felt his priestly vocation. Since there were no schools in Uruguay, he moved to Buenos Aires for his studies, where he celebrated his first Mass on June 6, 1841.
After his ordination, he was vice-priest and then parish priest of the Villa de Guadalupe de Canelones for 17 years. On October 4, 1859 he was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Uruguay. He received episcopal ordination on July 16, 1865 in the Mother Church of Montevideo. He attended the First Vatican Council in 1870. In 1878 the diocese of Montevideo was established, encompassing all of Uruguay, and Bishop Vera became its first bishop on July 13, 1878. He died during a mission on May 6, 1881. Already at his funeral he was called a saint by everyone. A referendum was called for the erection of the tomb in which his remains rest in the Cathedral of Montevideo. In a short time, the required sum was collected, and the monument was dedicated on the first anniversary of his death.
The miracle, now officially recognized by the Catholic Church, involved the healing of a 14-year-old girl on October 8, 1936. After an operation for appendicitis, the girl contracted an infection that, despite all treatments, deteriorated into a desperate condition. An uncle of the girl brought her a picture with a relic of Jacinto Vera and asked her to put it on the wound and pray for both her and her family. That same night the pain stopped, the fever dropped and the next morning a full, scientifically inexplicable recovery was ascertained. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 21/12/2022)