John Paul II Pays Tribute to Salesian Holiness
Following Beatification of Three of Don Bosco´s Disciples
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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 15, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II paid tribute to the saints of the Salesian family, a day after beatifying three members of the religious family.
The new blessed, disciples of St. John Bosco (1815-1888), are Nicaraguan María Romero Meneses (1902-1977), a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians; Colombian-Italian Luis Variara (1875-1923), priest; and Argentine-Italian Artemides Zatti (1880-1951), Salesian coadjutor.
When the Holy Father met this morning with pilgrims who attended Sunday´s beatifications, he recalled the lives of the newly honored which "did not remain hidden within the walls of their religious community," but reached "so many men and women, children and youths who knew them and benefited from their apostolic work."
The Pope mentioned Blessed Luigi Variara, founder of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as "the cloth of the tears of the most segregated and at times the most forgotten of society."
"His life invites us to give a helping hand to all, to not disdain anyone, to be welcoming," the Pope added. "Today, Colombia, where he lived and gave the best of himself with the help of God´s grace, can find in the examples of this witness of Jesus Christ a help to overcome the harsh situation it has been experiencing for years and point itself toward a society of greater fraternity and solidarity."
John Paul II then spoke about Zatti, who, with his incessant and joyful activity in favor of the sick, sowed the mercy that Jesus asked us to practice in Argentina: "I was sick and you visited me."
His example, can inspire in "all professionals in the field of health a renewed attitude of service to the sick that will emphasize his condition as a person, provided with inalienable rights," the Holy Father continued.
Lastly, he said that what is most attractive about Sister María Romero is "her service to the poor, with creativity and efficacy."
"The works she founded to promote the Christian life of the neediest and to alleviate the situation of need being experienced by so many inhabitants of San Jose, Costa Rica, and its outskirts subsist today and continue to give reasons for well-founded hope through gestures of solidarity toward the poorest," the Pope said.
John Paul II concluded with an exhortation: "May this service never be lacking, which has brought so much honor to the Church of Christ!"
On April 12, when John Paul II received the participants in the general chapter of the Salesians, and their new rector major, Father Pascual Chávez Villanueva, the Holy Father reminded them that holiness is the Salesians´ main task.
"Dear Salesians, if you make the effort to imprint on your work a constant measure of evangelical love, you will be able to carry out your mission to the end with joy and efficacy," the Pope exclaimed. "Be holy! Holiness, as you well know, is your essential task, as it is also for all Christians."
The Salesian religious family includes a total of 21 congregations and officially recognized groups. An additional 27 have requested recognition.