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Argentine diocesan priest beatified

Catholic World News - September 16, 2013

Father José Gabriel Brochero (1840-1914), a diocesan priest who was blind and a leper when he died, was beatified in Córdoba, Argentina’s second-largest city, on September 14.

Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the outdoor Mass, which at least 150,000 attended, according to Agence France-Presse.

Msgr. Guillermo Karcher, papal master of ceremonies, said that “the gaucho priest was indefatigable when traveling in the remote mountainous areas around Córdoba to bring the word of the Catholic Church to the people, as well as when he used to help build houses, churches, schools, post offices, dams, roads, and telegraph networks,” the Italian news agency ANSA (Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata) reported.

“He was a man well ahead of his time who understood the need to put himself at the service of the people and to help them in their moments of need,” Msgr. Karcher added.

Pope Francis praised Blessed José Gabriel in a letter to Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe, the president of the Argentine bishops’ conference, which was made public on the date of the beatification ceremony. The Pontiff characterized the “gaucho priest” as a “shepherd who had the smell of his sheep.”

“I imagine the good priest Brochero on his mule,” the Pope wrote, “traveling along the barren and desolate roads of the two hundred square kilometers that made up his parish, searching for your great-grandparents, your great-great-grandparents, to ask if they needed anything and to invite them to do the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.”

At his Angelus audience the next day, the Pope said: “I wish to share in the joy of the Church in Argentina for the beatification of this exemplary pastor who, atop his mule, indefatigably travelled the arid paths of his parish, going from door to door seeking the parishioners entrusted to him to lead them to God. We ask Christ, by the intercession of the new Blessed, that there be a proliferation of priests who, like Father Brochero, dedicate their lives to evangelization, on both knees before the Cross, and bearing witness everywhere to God's love and mercy.”

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