Spain celebrates Fifth Birth Centenary of St. Teresa of Avila

Ávila, Spain (Wednesday, 10/15/2014, Gaudium Press) Celebrations for the Fifth Centenary of the birth of St Teresa of Jesus (1515-1582), the Carmelite saint, reformer, mystic and Doctor of the Church, have officially started in Spain. The opening of the Fifth Birth Centenary, which will run until October 15, 2015, took place on Wednesday morning, October 15, in Avila, including a procession at 11:00 am with the statue of the saint followed by the Eucharistic celebration presided by Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez of Valladolid and President of the Spanish Bishops Conference, concelebrated by several Spanish bishops including Bishop Carlos Osorio, recently elected Archbishop of Madrid, Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo, of Avila, and Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, Archbishop of Valencia. In attendance there were also many members of the Carmelite Order, headed by Father Saaverio Canistrá, General of the Order.

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Statue of St Teresa process in the streets of Avila
– photo Fifth Centenary of St Teresa

“We have gathered today to remember the works of God’s mercy, to sing His wonders, to praise an exceptional woman who has preceded us in our faith in God, in our love for Jesus Christ and in our works for the Gospel. The memory of St. Teresa of Jesus, born near this place 500 years ago, has gathered us this morning. Her presence is alive among us, and gives us joy, encouragement and hope” Bishop Blazquez said during his opening words.

Later on, the President of the Spanish Bishops Conference encouraged the faithful to look to the past and learn from it: “We are starting the V Centenary of the birth of a woman of the sixteenth century; this memory exercise is for us a lesson of history which is a teacher of life. If we turn our back to our past, which sometimes corrects our present and sometimes give us guidance and encouragement, we could cut the chances of our present and of our personal, ecclesiastical and social future. “

He also invited his audience to live this Centenary in the spirit of prayer of which St Teresa was an example. He explained that prayer is not a dialogue with ourselves but is a relation of friendship with God who loves us and who comes to meet us, who waits for us and who walks along with us.

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The opening Mass of the Fifth Centenary of St
Teresa was celebrated by Archbishop Blázquez
– photo Fifth Centenary of St Teresa

Let us learn how to be pilgrims as “the walking saint”

Pope Francis also joined in spirit the celebrations for the V Centenary of St. Teresa of Avila and in a message, addressed to the Bishop of Avila, he invites everyone to be a pilgrim following her example.

“In the school of this walking saint we learn how to be pilgrims. The Image of a road can clearly synthesize the lessons of her life and work. She understood her life as a way towards perfection through which God guides mankind, from mansion to mansion towards Him and, at the same time, taking men towards other men.

Through which paths the Lord wants to lead us in the footsteps and by the hand of Saint Teresa? I would like to remember four which do me a lot of good: the path of joy, the path of prayer, the path of fraternity and the path of time itself” says Pope.

Then he concluded: “To all of you I say: It is time to walk, walk in the paths of joy, prayer, fraternity and of time lived as a blessing. Let us travel the roads of our life by the hand of St Teresa. Her footpaths lead us always to Jesus. “

With information from the Spanish Catholic Bishops Conference

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