Pope Paul VI's confessor & promoter of World Youth Day will be beatified

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Around the world, he was known as Cardinal Pironio, but to his friends and neighbors in his native Argentina, he was still “Father Eduardo.” He was the youngest of the 23 children of an Italian immigrant couple and received the faith from his mother. Those who knew him described him as a man who was warm, fatherly, and above all, very close to his family.

BP. ARIEL TORRADO MOSCONI
Diocese of Nueve de Julio (Argentina)

His ministerial life led him to be involved in the universal Church and, therefore, a great part of his life was spent in Rome. However, every year he came here, to Nueve de Julio, which is a small town in the interior of the province of Buenos Aires to meet with his family, with his roots, with his beloved people.

Cardinal Pironio moved to Rome in 1975 to become Prefect of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life—a position given to him by Pope Paul VI—the same pope for whom he was a confessor and who made him a cardinal. He was even considered as a potential papal candidate in two conclaves, following the death of Paul VI and John Paul I.

But before relocating to Rome, he was an Archbishop in Argentina, where he dedicated much of his time to youth ministry. This mission in his home country was the groundwork for what would later become World Youth Day.

BP. ARIEL TORRADO MOSCONI
Diocese of Nueve de Julio (Argentina)

The experience that Pironio had while he was Bishop of Mar de Plata, is undoubtedly what motivated him to propose to our beloved Pope John Paul II that World Youth Day should not only be held in Rome, but also outside of Rome.

And so it happened. The first international World Youth Day took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1987. At that time, Cardinal Pironio was the President of the then Pontifical Council for the Laity. It is evident in pictures like this one that he accompanied Pope John Paul II on several World Youth Days.

Cardinal Pironio passed away in 1998. But before his death, he also had some meetings with Pope Francis, when he was not yet Archbishop of Buenos Aires, but Provincial of the Jesuits.

BP. ARIEL TORRADO MOSCONI
Diocese of Nueve de Julio (Argentina)

The Pope told me about the personal relationship he had with our dear Cardinal Pironio and the experience of spending time with a holy man, with a man of God. Pope Francis was very moved when he told me this.

The miracle necessary for Cardinal Pironio's beatification was approved by the Vatican in early November. He is credited with the extraordinary healing of a 15-month-old baby who was in a coma.

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