6-February-2013 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Argentina celebrates cardinal being considered for beatification

An Argentinian cardinal whose cause for beatification is underway was remembered for his holiness and love of youth at a Mass 15 years after his death.

Cardinal Eduardo Francisco Pironio, who bears the title Servant of God, was recognized at a Feb. 3 Mass in his memory at the Basilica of Our Lady of Lujan in Argentina.

Bishop Carlos Malfa of Chascomus presided at the Mass, with a number of prelates concelebrating, including Bishop Fernando Maletti of Bariloche and Auxiliary Bishop Raul Martin of Buenos Aires.

During his homily, Bishop Malfa said that the cardinal joins a growing list of men and women the Church has given to Argentina as examples of holiness, including Blessed Maria Cresencia Perez and Father Jose Gabriel Brochero, who will be beatified in September.

While recognizing that the Church has yet to issue its authoritative judgment in the sainthood cause, he said that "we embrace the testimony of Cardinal Pironio, who was a profoundly humane and godly man."

At the conclusion of the Mass, Bishop Malfa recalled several unpublished statements made by the late cardinal.

"The essence of our Christian life is not poverty or the cross, but love," Cardinal Pironio had said. "The reality of the cross in the life and ministry of Jesus is revealed as the only definitive and concrete way to love. The cross reveals love, love explains the cross; the cross and love make our hope possible and unfailing."

Bishop Malfa also underscored the cardinal's great love for young people, recalling his words as President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity: "This is my wish for all you, dear young people: that you may always feel how much Jesus loves you, that you will rest your heads upon the bosom of the Master in order to savor his Words, and that you may welcome Mary into your own homes."

Cardinal Pironio was born in the town of Nueve de Julio, Argentina, on Dec. 3, 1920. He was the youngest of 22 children born to Italian immigrants, a family that he described as "miraculous," as doctors told his mother after she gave birth to her first child that she would never be able to have more children.

At the age of 18, Cardinal Pironio entered the seminary of La Plata. He studied theology in Europe and was rector of the seminary of Buenos Aires before becoming dean of theology at the Catholic University of Argentina.

He was subsequently appointed as auxiliary bishop of La Plata, bishop of Avellaneda and bishop of Mar del Plata. He also worked as secretary and president of the Latin American Bishops' Council.

He was made a cardinal by Paul VI in 1976. After receiving death threats during a period of military dictatorship in Argentina, he was transferred to Rome.

Cardinal Pironio participated in the conclaves that elected John Paul I and John Paul II. He served as president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and was one of the architects of World Youth Day. He also served as prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life.

The cardinal died of bone cancer in Rome on Feb. 5, 1998. He is buried at the shrine of Our Lady of Lujan in Argentina, and his cause for beatification was opened on June 23, 2006.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Americas.php?id=6973#ixzz2KKNVKi7g

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