AMERICA/PARAGUAY - Restoration of the ancient Jesuit churches, renewal of the Pastoral care of education and beatification of the missionary Bishop Pedro Shaw

Saturday, 4 March 2023

Asuncion (Agenzia Fides) - The Church of Paraguay has experienced two important meetings in recent days: the second synodal meeting "Walking together" on February 27 and 28, with all the bishops of Paraguay, the pastoral Vicars and the executive secretaries of the Episcopal Commissions and pastoral coordination, which was followed by the 236th Ordinary Assembly of the Episcopal Conference.
According to the information released by the Episcopal Conference, the synodal meeting was characterized by reflection and discernment in the light of the Document of the continental stage of the Synod, each group shared its experience in the synodal journey. Among the important topics addressed were communion, participation and co-responsibility, as well as the organization of the Church's work in listening to those who feel abandoned and excluded.
On the evening of February 28, the Bishops went to the Pastoral House “Monsignor Juan Sinforiano Bogarín” Pastoral House for the 236th Ordinary General Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Paraguay, which was also attended by representatives of different ministries and pastoral commissions.
Among the highlights discussed was the review of the report of the Episcopal Commission for Cultural Heritage, whose mission is to preserve and promote the sacred and ecclesiastical heritage of the country. Among the restoration works carried out in the various dioceses, the beginning of the restoration of the buildings of the old Jesuit temples was highlighted. For its part, the report of the Coordination of Educational Pastoral highlighted the need to restructure the National Educational Pastoral, in order to make society better aware of the great work and the important contribution offered by the Church.
The Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) then presented several documents on Monsignor Pedro Shaw, better known as Pa'i Puku, which must be evaluated in order to then open the process of canonization (see Fides, 15/6 /2021). Born on September 6, 1925 in Wilrijk, diocese of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, Pedro Shaw was ordained a priest on September 30, 1951 and placed the following year in the Apostolic Vicariate of Pilcomayo. He arrived in Paraguay on December 16, 1952. From 1953 he worked as a tireless traveling missionary in Chaco, Benjamín Aceval, María Medianera, Puerto Elsa (now Nanawa). On April 22, 1981, he was consecrated Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Pilcomayo. On June 21, 1984, he was killed in a car accident.
As the note from the Episcopal Conference of Paraguay recalls, Monsignor Pedro Shaw, the popular Pai Puku, was a tireless missionary, traveling on horseback, by cart and even on foot, crossing arid deserts and vast areas flooded by water, crossing rivers and swamps filled with all kinds of insects and parasites.
He knew no time limits or boundaries. He dressed and spoke like the people of the Chaco.
The idea of launching the cause of his beatification spread shortly after his death, and matured in 2000. In 2019, the bishop of Benjamín Aceval, Monsignor Amancio Benítez, took the decision to officially open the beatification process, but this could not take place due to the pandemic. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 4/3/2023)