Tag Archives: Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga

Young pilgrims fly the flag for Latin America

Cardinal Rodriguez addresses pilgrims on the outskirts of Rio. Copyright: Caritas/Michelle Hough

Cardinal Rodriguez addresses pilgrims on the outskirts of Rio. Copyright: Caritas/Michelle Hough

By Michelle Hough, Caritas Internationalis communications officer in Rio de Janeiro

Read in French

Not even the rain could dampen the spirits of the hundreds of World Youth Day pilgrims who went to  the church of Santo Aghostino on the outskirts if Rio de Janeiro to hear the catechesis of Caritas president, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga this morning.

“I want you to think of your five best friends,” said Cardinal Rodriguez at the beginning of his catechesis. “Is Christ on the list?”

The church was packed full of young people from all corners of Latin America. Cardinal Rodriguez name-checked all of the groups according to the flags they were waving giving rise to cheers: Colombia, Argentina, Honduras, Belize, Peru… and many more.

Speaking in his native Spanish, Cardinal Rodriguez said how despite all the technology we have, people still find themselves disorientated. He said we need to listen more to the word of God and cited one of Pope Benedict’s first tweets in which he advised us to talk to Jesus through prayer, listen to his words and meet with him through the poor.

“Being a Christian is the fruit of freedom,” said the Cardinal, “you’re a disciple for love and it’s a privilege.”

Cardinal Rodriguez emphasised the necessity of practicing faith and said that people who say they’re Catholic but non-practicing are no Catholic at all.

“Our hearts are sick,” said the Cardinal. “We’re suffering from missionary heart failure.”

He told the young pilgrims that they could practice their faith with Caritas. Mentioning Caritas’s upcoming anti-poverty campaign on the right to food, the Cardinal said the pilgrims could start to get informed and look at how much food restaurants and shops waste in their own country.

He invited the young to be volunteers for Caritas. He said how following Peru’s 2007 earthquake, many young people worked tirelessly for hours on end to dig out those trapped.

“Many people have dry spiritual lives,” said the Cardinal. Young people should have a veritable garden for their spiritual life. “Are you in good spiritual health?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis visited a favela this morning. I saw favelas as I was travelling out to Santo Aghostino. They looked so precarious perched on the hillsides. Even though Rio is considered an exotic holiday location in Western culture, the poverty is desperate and visible in many places you go.

At the favela of Varginha, Pope Francis said, “No one can remain indifferent to the inequalities that still exist in the world. Let each according to their capacities and responsibilities, offer their contribution to end many social injustices.

“Let us always remember this: only when we are able to share do we become truly rich; everything that is shared is multiplied! Think of the multiplication of the loaves by Jesus! The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty!”

Up to one million pilgrims went to Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on Copacabana beach this evening. The rain even stopped for the occasion.

As I wrestle with my jet lag (“Wake up! It’s not really 3am, but 10pm), I start making my plans for tomorrow.

Cardinal Rodriguez is doing his final catechesis in the Paróquia São Rafael in Vista Alegre. Caritas Brazil is taking part in a three kilometre march from Arpoador to Copacabana beach between 1.30pm and 3pm. And pilgrims will join Pope Francis for the Way of the Cross on Copacabana at 6pm.

I think I’d better get some sleep….

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Filed under Brazil, Catholic Teaching, Latin America, Meetings & Events

The hallmark of Christianity

More than 1000 young people gathered in the parish of the Holy Family in Madrid to hear Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga present his second catechesis at World Youth Day.

The same day, Pope Benedict arrived in the Spanish Capital from Rome, Cardinal Rodriguez spoke of the Pope’s message for World Youth Day: “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith.” Caritas Spain looks at what he said.

Cardinal Rodriguez said, “Whatever we build must be planned in a way that that when tough winds blow, it isn’t swept away.”

“Our lives are constantly put to the test by personal, family and social crises, through relativism and the ethics of convenience which try to uproot us and make us believe that all that which satisfies our personal needs is good. Yet faith isn’t the rational adherence to an ideology but a personal meeting with Christ who lives within us.”

Cardinal Rodriguez underlines that Christ is the foundation which helps us face our crises and leads to us being stronger. He, who lives among us, is the one who can satisfy our greatest wishes, our most pressing desires for happiness and salvation.

The Hallmark of Christianity

Cardinal Rodriguez reminded the young people that “Christians receive a mark at Baptism. They are aware of this and they act in accordance with it. We are of Christ, we are his inheritance.”

The Cardinal invited young people to answer this call from Christ. Like Pope Benedict in his World Youth Day message, he asked them to offer their commitment and to learn to meet Christ in the Eurcharist where we witness his compassion in helping the poor, the sick and those in difficulty.

Other noteworthy points from Cardinal Rodriguez’s catechesis:

“Life is a song and what better director than Christ to guide the song of our lives?”
“Trusting in our solid foundations, we can have confidence if life puts us to the test. The strength of our faith enables us to face difficulties rooted in Christ.
“When people worship God and listen to his voice, a world of love can be built where each one of us is respected.”
“Christ wants to be discovered and treated as a friend. He is the way, life, happiness and salvation.”
“Being a Christian is to be baptised and to be conscious of this. But even more important is to be consistent with this baptism. That means behaving in accordance with what baptism is. With baptism we are son of God and brother of Jesus Christ. We are temple of the Holy Spirit, member of the Church and inheritor of the Kingdom.”

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