Venezuela’s beloved ‘Doctor of the Poor’ to be beatified

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — With the austerity of a monk, a vocation to search the good of others and a vibrant scientific thoughts, Jose Gregorio Hernández received the affection of those that referred to as him “the doctor of the poor.” He grew to become a spiritual icon after his demise in 1919, and since then thousands and thousands of Venezuelans have fervently requested that he be universally worshipped.

Now, the physician, scientist, college professor and pioneer of bacteriology will be beatified, a step towards sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church. The beatification ceremony Friday will culminate of 72 years of efforts by Venezuela’s Catholics.

Initial plans referred to as for a ceremony at a stadium, however the coronavirus pandemic has pressured organizers to change venues, restrict attendance to fewer than 300 folks — largely monks and nuns — and go away the relaxation of the Venezuelans to watch the occasion on tv. The pared-down occasion will happen in a small chapel at a Catholic faculty on the edge of a mountainous nationwide park north of Caracas.

The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, had been scheduled to lead Hernández’s beatification in particular person. But the former ambassador of the Holy See in Venezuela on Wednesday canceled his journey to the South American nation, citing the pandemic.

Hernández died at age 54 when he was hit by one of the few vehicles in Venezuela in the early 20th century. His ascent towards sainthood has been plagued with obstacles, however in the hearts of many Venezuelans, he already is a saint.

The beatification “does not change things at all … for me he has always been a saint,” stated Odalis Josefina Vargas, who like thousands and thousands of different Venezuelans venerate the physician who gained fame for giving free remedy and medicines to the poor.

Vargas has a picture of the physician on an altar in her residence that’s at all times illuminated with inexperienced mild bulbs besides throughout the blackouts that plague the nation.

When Pope John Paul II visited Venezuela in February 1996, he obtained a petition signed by 5 million folks — nearly one in 4 Venezuelans — asking that he declare Hernández a saint and make his worship official.

Hernández, born on Oct. 26, 1864, was satisfied that science was one of the fundamental methods to get the nation out of distress. He based two analysis establishments and several other courses at the Central University of Venezuela, the oldest and largest in the nation.

“He believed that medicine was a priesthood of human pain,” Luis Razetti, a distinguished Venezuelan physician and buddy of Hernández, as soon as stated.

Hernández, who by no means married, graduated as a health care provider in Caracas in 1888. He traveled to Europe to research after which to change into a Catholic monk, however his fragile well being didn’t enable him to stand up to Italy’s chilly and humid climate. He returned to Venezuela to get better and stayed completely.

On June 29, 1919, he was killed whereas crossing a road shortly after selecting up some medicines at a pharmacy to take to a really poor previous lady. An estimated 20,000 folks participated in his funeral procession, a couple of quarter of the inhabitants of Caracas at the time.

In 1986, the Vatican declared Hernández “venerable,” which implies that he led an exemplary Christian life. But to obtain sanctity, groups of docs, theologians and cardinals should approve two miracles attributed to him.

The case that prompted the beatification was that of the woman Yaxury Solorzano, who was critically injured after being shot in the head and managed to get better fully in a miracle attributed to Hernández, the Archdiocese of Caracas reported then.

Pope Francis signed the decree for the beatification final June.

John Paul II, now a saint himself, visited Venezuela twice. But relations between Venezuelan Catholic leaders and the nation’s socialist governments have been strained, significantly throughout the time period of the late President Hugo Chávez. During his 1999-2013 authorities, he accused Catholic leaders of turning their backs on the poor and siding with the “oligarchy.”

Under Francis’ tenure as pope, relations have improved dramatically. Some observers had stated Parolin’s deliberate journey to Venezuela might assist the Vatican lay the groundwork for brand spanking new negotiations after a sequence of failed dialogues over the final 5 years geared toward reaching an settlement between the authorities and opposition.

The beatification comes at a time when many Venezuelans wrestle to feed their households because of this, amongst different elements, of hovering meals costs amid hyperinflation. A complete of 9.three million folks — a couple of third of the inhabitants — endure from average or extreme meals insecurity, in accordance to a 2020 report from the United Nations World Food Program.

The worship of Hernández has unfold to Spain and Portugal and to different South American nations.

“It is something impressive. With the exodus of Venezuelans and the return to their places of origin of people who lived in our country, their knowledge and devotion has spread,” stated Cardinal Baltazar Porra.

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