The Minister for the Promotion of the Whole Human Development of the Holy See sent a message to Father Dumas, Chairman of the International Catholic Gypsy Council, mentioning two role models for bringing the gospel to the insecure, Fathers Blessed Mara and Ribordi.
(Vatican News Network)Cardinal Turksen, Minister of the Holistic Development of the Holy See, recently sent a message to Father Claude Dumas, Chairman of the International Catholic Gypsy Council. In the message, the cardinal mentioned two people who lived in different periods and countries, but their deep faith, strong brotherly spirit, and care for the unsettled people connected them together. These two important figures are Fathers Zeferino Giménez Malla and Marco Riboldi.
The ceremonial anniversary of the true blessed Mara is August 2, when he was shot to protect a priest during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Mara was canonized as Blessed on May 4, 1997, during the pastoral ministry of St. John Paul II. He was the first Gypsy to be blessed. In the 47 years from 1971 to 2018, Father Ribordi was responsible for the pastoral work of the unsettled people in the Archdiocese of Milan, and also contributed to the canonization of true blessings by Mara. Father Ribordi rested in his arms on June 8 this year.
Regarding the true blessings of Mara, Cardinal Turksen not only emphasized his “deep religious beliefs” in his message, but also pointed out his concern for the “traditional values of Gypsy culture, such as promoting life, family-centric, unconditional Acceptance, and the joy of life”. In addition, the cardinal also mentioned two important aspects of the true blessed Mara, namely: his love for animals, “similar to Saint Francis of Assisi”; and his “spiritual spirit of brotherhood”, which made him ” Mediated disputes and conflicts between the families of Gypsies and between Roma and non-Roma”. Cardinal Turksen explained that for the true Fumara, “race and social status are not important, but it is important to recognize from the heart that everyone has his value in any situation.”
Not only that, the Minister of the Holy See’s Ministry for the Promotion of Human Development also reiterated that “the true blessed Mara was born in a culture that cares for the youth and the elderly”. Commemorating the true blessed mara is also an opportunity to “discover the wealth that everyone has, attach importance to each other’s common points, and treat differences as opportunities for growth.” At the same time, Cardinal Turksen pointed out that “Roma people are good at unity and friendship” because “for centuries, they have to deal with difficulties collectively, which has inspired a strong sense of belonging and group friendship among them. The spirit of keeping watch and helping each other”.
In addition, with regard to Father Ribordi’s deeds, Cardinal Turksen mentioned that his “missionary attitude reflects a going out church in the reality of the Gypsies”. “He knows how to localize faith and etiquette, help Gypsy families on the edge of the city and the human world, and share their daily lives with his joy and pain.” Until 2020, Father Ribordi lived in a station wagon and used it as a parish chapel. He traveled throughout Europe in order to bring the word of God to the Roma. He translated the Bible, ceremonial scriptures and songs into the various languages of the Roma, and this work is still very precious. In addition, Father Ribordi was the first to propose starting specific pastoral work for the Gypsies, and Pope St. Paul VI adopted and implemented this suggestion.
Cardinal Turksen once again pointed out that “Fr Ribordi is the’Priest of the Gypsies’. Through localization, companionship, dedication and humility, he spread Roma values among non-Roma people, and at the same time The gospel needed by the unsettled people is brought to them. At the end of the message, Cardinal Turksen prayed to God, wishing to use the example of Father Ribordi and the intercession of Blessed Mara to pray for God to increase “for The vocation of the service of the most in need” and the “culture that discovers the grace of social friendship”, as Pope Francis pointed out in the encyclical “Brothers”.
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