The 23rd of June was a great day for Paraguay and Carmel. At last arrived the hoped-for day and the stadium of the Cerro Porteño Club was packed with worshipers who began to arrive from midday to applaud their blessed Maria Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (Chiquitunga). The ceremony began punctually at 4.30 in the afternoon and presiding was Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. Concelebrating with him were all the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference and some 200 priests. The ceremony was solemn, lively and cheerful, with a mixture of hymns that were classic and catchy Paraguayan folkloric. It was moving to see an assembly of 50,000 people (we also know that thousands were unable to get into the stadium) who joined in each moment of the ceremony with their applause.
Some 60 Discalced Carmelite nuns were present as well as around 40 friars from Paraguay and neighboring countries. On the next day, there were thanksgiving Masses in various places for the beatification of this Carmelite whom, from yesterday, the people acclaimed as a saint.
In his homily, Cardinal Angelo Amato presented the new blessed (fondly known as Chiquitunga) as “an educated young woman, holy and enthusiastic about her faith and her vocation to the consecrated life”; a saint who, “today invites her sisters to feel proud of their vocation and happy in their daily commitment to the Lord”; a saint who “invites us all to live truly our Christian existence and inspire the Paraguayan youth to remain faithful in loving Jesus”.
Paraguay, Carmel and Heaven itself are filled, then, with rejoicing. May we all join in this happiness.