Argentina - Pilgrimage of Missions Councilor to sites of Blessed Ceferino Namuncurá and Blessed Laura Vicuña

29 March 2023

Argentina - March 2023 - From March 25 to 27, after the Team Visit to the South Cone America Region, Fr. Alfred Maravilla, General Councilor for the Missions, went on a pilgrimage to the places of Blessed Ceferino Namuncurá and Blessed Laura Vicuña, accompanied by the Provincial Delegate for Missionary Animation of the Argentina Sur Province (ARS), Fr. Francisco Cimento. Fr. Maravilla visited Sant'Ignacio, in the province of Neuquén, where some members of Blessed Ceferino's family live and where his relics are kept in the Shrine dedicated to him. The Shrine is very striking architecturally and its shape is inspired by a "kultrum," a sacred musical instrument of the Mapuche people (to whom the young Blessed belonged), which in its semi-spherical shape represents half the world in the Mapuche vision of the cosmos.

At the end of the Team Visit, the Rector Major stressed the importance and relevance of the work of Don Bosco's Salesians among the indigenous peoples. "Blessed Ceferino was deeply rooted in the culture and spirituality of his people. His encounter with the Salesians, from the age of 11 until his death at 18, allowed him to realize in his life the vital encounter of his culture with the Gospel," explained Fr. Maravilla. "Thus, he is a paradigmatic figure of our work among indigenous peoples," he underscored. In addition, during the Sunday Eucharist on March 26 at the shrine that holds his relics, the General Councilor for Missions entrusted Blessed Ceferino Namuncurá with the work of Salesians among indigenous peoples throughout the American continent, as well as the Missionary Congress that the two Salesian Provinces of Argentina are preparing for 2025. On the occasion, Fr. Maravilla also paused in prayer at the tomb of Ceferino's mother, Doña Rosario Burgos, who died at age 86 in 1948.

The pilgrimage of the General Councilor for Missions concluded with a visit to Junín de los Andes, which commemorates the figure of Blessed Laura Vicuña. In the parish church of "Nuestra Señora de las Nieves" he prayed before the relic of Laura Vicuña and the tomb of Fr. Domenico Melanesio (1843-1922), the founder of the Salesian mission in Junín de los Andes, who baptized Blessed Ceferino. The pilgrimage also allowed Fr. Maravilla to have a fraternal meeting with missionaries working in that part of the Patagonian region.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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