Popular Devotions Are Key in New Evangelization, Says Cardinal

Peruvian Prelate Addresses Rimini Meeting

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RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 27, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The rediscovery of popular religious fervor is decisive for the new evangelization, says Peruvian Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne.



The archbishop of Lima made this observation when addressing the "Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples," attended by some 600,000 people, and organized by the Communion and Liberation movement.

Cardinal Cipriani spoke about "The Lord of Miracles: Source of a People's Identity," one of the most popular religious manifestations in Latin America.

The image of the Lord of Miracles was made in the mid-17th century by a slave from Angola, who was a member of a confraternity made up of Angolans. During a local earthquake in 1655 the image remained intact. Since then, Peruvian faithful have attributed miraculous powers to it.

"The Lord of Miracles was a great gift to Lima 352 years ago, which today is spreading beyond the country's borders," even to Japan, the cardinal said. "Why? Because Christ works miracles in our hearts, among our people. He works the miracle of conversion."

This is how one can understand the phenomenon of millions of people of all ages and social conditions, who practice or are fallen away from the faith, who come to gaze on the face of Christ, the cardinal continued.

"Peru's first evangelization was done in a grandiose manner around the cross," he said. "Its traces are found in homes, in all homes, including the most remote, where the crucifix is the sign of the presence of Christ."

This is why "in the context of the new evangelization, it is fundamental to rediscover the most authentic values of popular religiosity," the cardinal concluded.