A Pilgrim Church
· For the 50th anniversary of the St Pantaleon Shrine in Argentina ·
Pope Francis expressed closeness in prayer and gratitude to the faithful and to the pilgrims who will gather in the Mataderos neighbourhood of Buenos Aires on Sunday, 27 July, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Shrine of St Pantaleon. In his message the Pope nostalgically recalled the times that he, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, personally visited the parish dedicated to the holy doctor from Nicomedia. “I would like to be beside you”, he wrote, “to relive in some way the occasions on which I was able to be at the shrine on 27 July to help the priests with confessions”.
“I would go home spiritually strengthened”, he shared, “by the testimony of faith. It is unimaginable how much good I received. And I would like to give thanks for all of this good. May the Lord reward you abundantly”.
The Pontiff then stated: “I pray for you, for your families, for the shrine and for the priests”, underlining that “many faces pass” through his memory, together with “the names of many colleagues”; and he recalled the “many gestures of hope lined up to venerate the image of St Pantaleon. All that testimony of faith and of prayer”, he wrote, “now helps me to have trust and to pray more”.
Finally, using an evocative message, the Pope described the shrine as “a temple which appears still, but which the people of the pilgrim God have made to walk. In this way it has walked for 50 years in the hearts of so many faithful who have come to venerate the saint, to implore health and to profess their faith. Thus it has walked in the heart of the neighbourhood, casting itself throughout the city. I pray the Lord grants you the grace to continue to walk”, he stated, “to continue this pilgrimage of the heart in the midst of the great city. In these days of the 50th anniversary celebration I am together with you. I ask you please do not forget to pray for me”.
In these days the community of the faithful is on a spiritual journey of preparation for the feast articulated by the novena in honour of the saint, which began last Friday, 18 July. On Sunday, 27 July, the shrine will be open from 5:00 a.m. until midnight, and 10 Masses will be celebrated throughout the day.
Scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, 3 August, are the procession with the image of St Pantaleon and the closing Mass dedicated to the shrine’s patron saint.
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