Pope Francis to Venezuela: I wish I could visit you

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Pope Francis sent this video message to Venezuelans for the beatification of José Gregorio Hernández, which will be celebrated on April 30 in the chapel of the La Salle College in Caracas.

“I'll confess that I didn't find a single Venezuelan here at the Vatican, in the Square nor in a private audience, who in the middle or at the end of a conversation, said, 'And when is José Gregorio's beatification?' They carried him in their souls. Well, now this wish is coming true.”

He praised the holiness of the “doctor of the poor,” his commitment to defending life and facing history's challenges, and especially his service to others.

The fourth Venezuelan Blessed played a key role in the so-called “Spanish flu.” The Pope noted that the timing of his beatification, in the middle of another pandemic, gives it special meaning.

“I am aware that your prolonged hardships and suffering have been aggravated by the terrible Covid-19 pandemic affecting us all. Today I remember many of the dead.”

He also said that those affected by the pandemic have paid with their lives, by fulfilling their responsibilities in precarious conditions.

He urged Venezuelans to respond to the humanitarian crisis following José Gregorio Hernández's example: promoting “greater solidarity, to work together to produce the response of the common good.”

“I ask that, all together, we recover that Venezuela where everyone knows they belong, where everyone can find a future. And I ask the Lord that no outside intervention prevent you from walking this path of national unity. How I wish I could visit you, to at least show you that I accompany you on this journey. I pray to Our Lady of Coromoto, patroness of that beloved and beautiful nation, and to Bl. José Gregorio Hernández, for all of you.”

José Gregorio Hernández's beatification will be celebrated by Archbishop Aldo Giordano, apostolic nuncio to Venezuela. Vatican Secretary of State, Card. Pietro Parolin, was supposed to celebrate the beatification, but the Holy See announced earlier this week that he had to cancel his trip.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi


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