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Rome Reports

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Card. Porras: Feast Day of José Gregorio Hernández may be Oct. 26

José Gregorio Hernández was a Venezuelan doctor well-known for his faith. Pope Francis announced his beatification on June 19 in the midst of one of the most unstable periods in Venezuela’s history. Yet one quality of the so-called “doctor of the poor” is his ability to unite the country. 

Cardinal Baltazar Porras traveled to Rome to plan for the much-anticipated event.

Apostolic Administrator of Caracas
“We were just at the (Congregation for) Divine Worship presenting the texts for the Mass. We asked that the liturgical feast be on Oct. 26, which is his birthday, rather than the date of his death, which is what is usually done. We asked this since he died on June 29, which is the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul.”

He also recalled the scientific advances José Gregorio Hernández brought to Venezuela, and how he always cared for the dignity of each person.

Apostolic Administrator of Caracas
“He had a very active role during the Spanish flu outbreak more than 100 years ago, another epidemic that took many lives around the world and in Venezuela.” – 02:03 FLASH 02:35 –

“The José Gregorio of yesterday is the José Gregorio of today, which is the one we have to not only hold in our hearts but also put into action, as all Venezuelans must do.” 02:43

The Church in Venezuela has been united in supporting those most affected by the humanitarian crisis. 

On Jan. 19, Pope Francis sent this video message to the Venezuelan bishops asking them to remember two principles to ensure the growth of the Church: love of neighbor and service to others.  

“Do not be divided, brothers. Do not divide yourselves. There is always a chance to unite, just as there is always the possibility to be isolated and to act with a hardened heart, outside of the unity of the Church.

Apostolic Administrator of Caracas
“We know there are many different ways one can seek to divide any institution. We don’t live on a cloud; we live in reality. Being in constant contact with one another and having a clear picture of our duty in mind reminds us that we are not meant to act alone or steal the spotlight from one another.”

In the face of the humanitarian crisis, Cardinal Porras affirms the Church in Venezuela continues to defend the dignity of the people, and he hopes the beatification of José Gregorio Hernández will be a symbol of hope to a people crying out in need.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi