Recently, I was present at the ceremony where Pope Francis created new cardinals for the Church, including Cardinal Robert W. McElroy, Bishop of San Diego. The ceremony was a clear reminder of the universality of the Church, as the new cardinals represent the Church in Asia, Africa, North and South America, as well as Europe. As a universal Church, we rejoice together, and we grieve together.
Even as I rejoice with Pope Francis and the new cardinals, I grieve with those suffering. My heart and mind go to Matagalpa, Nicaragua, as that Church laments the arrest of its bishop, Rolando Alvarez, along with several persons who accompanied him. St. Paul reminds us that when one part of the body hurts, the entire body hurts (cf. 1 Cor 12:26). The Church in San Jose, and indeed throughout the world, grieves with the Church in Nicaragua, especially in Matagalpa.
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh, I am filling up what is lacking* in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church” (Col 1:24).
Let us express our solidarity with the Church in Nicaragua through our prayers and penance. We pray with Pope Francis for a peaceful resolution to this conflict.
Bishop Oscar Cantú
San Jose, CA