Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

Paraguayan Catholics rejoice for beatification of one of their own

ASUNCION, Paraguay—In rural Paraguay in 2002, a newborn who spent 20 minutes without signs of life after the umbilical cord was cut was declared dead after attempts to revive him failed. A nurse at the scene then prayed for the intercession of “Chiquitunga” and the baby came back to life.

The miraculous healing of Angel Ramon in the department of San Pedro was attributed to the intercession of the venerable Servant of God Maria Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in a March 7 decree announcing her beatification from the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.

The eldest of seven children, Maria Felicia Guggiari Echeverria was born in Villarica, Paraguay, Jan. 12, 1925. Chiquitunga, as she was popularly known, will become the first Paraguayan woman to undergo beatification, a step toward sainthood.

Maria Felicia was a member of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites when she died in Asuncion April 28, 1959, after contracting hepatitis.

“Our joy is overflowing” at this anxiously awaited announcement, said Carmelite Father Cornelio Villalba.

“We thank God for this great gift,” he said, noting that the church in Paraguay now has to “prepare for this great event.”

More than 60,000 people are expected to attend the June 23 beatification Mass at the General Pablo Rojas Stadium in Asuncion, the Paraguayan capital.

“We have received as a gift and grace from Chiquitunga” the use of the stadium, Archbishop Edmundo Ponziano Valenzuela Mellid of Asuncion said at a news conference following the Vatican announcement.

Maria Felicia “led a life of missionary action and contemplation,” the archbishop said.

From the age of 14, she devoted herself intensely to prayer and the apostolate, and became involved in the Catholic Action of Paraguay. She worked with children, young workers, university students with problems, the poor, the sick and the elderly.

Filled with admiration for the “spirituality of a young woman,” the church in Paraguay wants Maria Felicia “to be the patron of Paraguayan youth because she is a model of holiness,” Archbishop Valenzuela said.

The beatification process was started in December 1997, and Pope Benedict XVI declared Maria Felicia venerable in 2010.

The last words of Chiquitunga, who took the Discalced Carmelite habit in 1955, were: “How happy I am! … What a joy to meet my Jesus! … Jesus, I love you, what a sweet encounter! Virgin Mary,” Anibal Casco, communications officer for the Paraguayan bishops’ conference, told Catholic News Service.

For the beatification Mass, Paraguayan artist Koki Ruiz will make an altarpiece with more than 20,000 rosaries donated by parishioners, Casco said.

When Pope Francis presided at Mass at Nu Guazu Park in Paraguay in 2015, he stood in front of a 72-foot-tall, 131-foot-wide corn altar built by Ruiz with 32,000 corncobs, 200,000 baby coconuts, 1,000 squashes, and 771 pounds of seeds and grains, he told America magazine at the time.

 

By Santi Carneri | Catholic News Service

 

CNS photo/courtesy Central Beatification Commission of Paraguay: Servant of God Maria Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, known as “Chiquitunga,” is seen in this undated portrait. The member of the Order of Discalced Carmelites will be beatified June 23 in her native Paraguay.






  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Jul 18 Tekakwitha Conference 2018
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry
    Jul 27 4th National Black Catholic Women's Conference
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Jul 288:30 am Canon Law Course
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Aug 10 Last day of Summer Academy
    From the Calendar of St. Anthony of Padua School Greenville
    8:00 am 2018 Interregional African American Catholic Evangelization Conference
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Aug 17 CORE Training Weekend
    From the Calendar of Youth Ministry
    Aug 1910:00 am Volunteer Workday and Open House Potluck
    From the Calendar of St. John School North Charleston
    Aug 258:00 am Day of Prayer for Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Sep 1 Daniel Rudd Fund Application Closes
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    10:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Sep 18 National Association of Black Catholic Administrators Annual Meeting
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Oct 13 Diocesan Evangelization Conference
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Oct 278:00 am Day of Continuing Education for Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Nov 1 Black Catholic History Month
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Nov 1010:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Nov 1210:00 am Junta Diocesana
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Nov 17 Diocese of Charleston Native American Catholic Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry
    Nov 18 Vietnamese Martyrs Celebration
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Dec 1 Black Catholics Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Dec 15 Simbang Gabi for Filipino Catholics
    From the Calendar of Filipino Ministry