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(ANS – Antofagasta) – On Friday, May 4, In Antofagasta, a new church dedicated to Don Bosco was consecrated. It is particularly distinguished by the mural picture which adorns the sanctuary and which expresses a Christological and ecclesial vision. The consecration of the church was carried out during a Mass in which many bishops, diocesan and Salesian priests and many people took part.
The ceremony of consecration was presided over by the Archbishop of Santiago and President of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, Mons. Ricardo Ezzati, SDB; he was accompanied by the Archbishop of Antofagasta, Mons. Pablo Lizama, the bishop of Arica, Mons. Héctor Vargas, SDB, and the Archbishop emeritus of Antofagasta, Mons. Patricio Infante, who had promoted the arrival of Salesians into the region.
Besides the prelates, other concelebrants were Fr. Alberto Lorenzelli, Provincial of Chile, Fr. Jorge Rivera, the Provincial Economer, priests of the local Salesian community and other priests and deacons of the archdiocese. Also present were civil authorities, representatives of businesses, religious Sisters, teachers, students, parents and many lay people.
At the opening of the function, Fr. Giancarlo Favaretto, Vicar and Economer of the community, explained the meaning of the fresco on the wall of the sanctuary: “The whole Christological-ecclesial representation centres on Antofagasta, recognizable by the two characteristic monuments symbolizing the zone. The Antofagasta mountains provide a magnificent scenic background; the sea, ruffled by a light breeze, arouses a magic feeling of being a part of this suggestive setting. The centre of the whole mural is the risen Jesus Christ, present in the community, the life-giver, beginning and end of the entire pastoral surge of the Church, and master of life.”
A further characteristic of the church is the circular shape, which brings worshippers in all parts of the church quite physically close to the altar.
In his homily, Mons. Ezzati recalled that Jesus is present in the Eucharist and that the Eucharist is the humanizing of man and source of new life for all. At the end of the celebration everyone was given a card with the picture and explanation of the mural. To conclude, Fr. Giuseppe Carraro, Rector of the community of Antofagasta, handed the keys of the building to Mons. Lizama as a sign of the availablility and openness of this house of God in relation to the archdiocese.
The building of the church was made possible thanks to the efforts of the local Salesian Institute, after seven months of building work. Built alongside the Institute, in a very needy area of the city, the church will be open to the local population and can accommodate about 500 people.