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He showed the forest to those who only saw one tree

· ​The organizer of the Pope's visit in Paraguay reflects on the key moments ·

The Pope's visit in Paraguay from 10-12 July marked a new stage for the country and the Church. It helped the nation regain with Christ a spirit of dialogue, joy and battle. It promoted a missionary spirit of a Church with hope. The visit can be divided in two key moments: the first is represented by Francis' closeness, by his words and actions; the second is represented by the pastoral results.

The Pope praised us and and now this praise has placed us in a very high position. In reality, however, we are not this praiseworthy. Without resorting to pessimism, we must recognize that as a Church we still have many defects. Ours is a Church which must heal many wounds: there have been many scandals and painful situations. We have lived through many moments in which we are only now concluding.

Nonetheless this visit helped everyone to begin to heal these wounds. The Pope witnessed moments of triumph and of a strong communion of the people without distinction. Now we must work seriously to make the Church more joyful, more united and more paschal. We are used to those who only see a tree and not the entire forest. The Pope came and showed us the forest. He helped us to look in the cardinal directions which sustain our national history in the light of the faith. We are a very religious people. All of Latin America has a deep popular devotion to Mary but we do not move beyond this devotion to the faith and to the strength that leads to charity and helping others. We still do not engage, we still do not act in solidarity. We need to know Christ more: his way of thinking and acting, of his closeness to the people, his attitude of mercy to sinners and the abandoned.

Edmundo Valenzuela 
Archbishop of Asunción

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 26, 2018

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