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Meet Walter Chango, the Carlo Acutis of Uruguay

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Aliénor Goudet - published on 01/23/22

Devoted to God from a young age, he spent his life sharing the love of Christ.

It’s a cool morning in early November of 1938 in Uruguay. The sun has not yet had time to warm up the streets of Montevideo. However, a young man is up early in the Aguada neighborhood.

With a beaming smile, Walter Chango knocks on the doors of everyone he knows. He offers each home a copy of the logo of the Eucharistic Congress that will take place in a few days. He has copied it himself for all his friends and all the people of his parish so that they can unite in prayer. Humming, he continues his distribution. 

He wants to see the logo hanging on every door. That way, everyone will be united during this great event. His heart has been overflowing with joy since the announcement of the congress. What an opportunity to live this moment! 

Little promoter of the Eucharist

Since he was very young, Walter has been devoted to prayer. The Rosary is part of his daily life and he talks about Jesus whenever he has the opportunity. All around him, people whisper that this boy who meditates deeply before the Eucharist at Mass is a future priest. What joy he felt on the day of his First Communion in 1931!

But Walter isn’t satisfied with just praying and going to mass. As a Christian, he has to share the joy he feels before the Eucharist. Even children his own age listen to him attentively. One day, one of his classmates at Holy Family High School boasts that he hasn’t been to confession in a long time. Young Walter quickly teaches him the importance of the sacraments, because they’re vital for entering into union with Jesus. Far from the sacraments, our soul languishes and dies, he says confidently.

Communion is the life of the soul, Walter explains. It’s the perfect way to give oneself to God completely and to receive Him. Without it, we cannot improve. Through Communion, God allows the unworthy to join Him forever. The classmate in question hurried back to Mass. 

A short, humble and full life

Walter has a mission. He has understood that a Christian must care about making the world a better place. Not content with being an exemplary and gifted student, he never brags about his grades. On the contrary, he carefully avoids talking about it. In his spare time, he visits the poor and keeps the sick company. He distributes fruit and makes toys for the poor children in his neighborhood. His mission, he says, requires that he take care of the little ones. 

He also nourishes their souls with words of comfort and reminders of the promises of Christ. The Virgin Mary is his confidant. He entrusts to her all those he meets. 

”It’s not enough for me to be good,” he says. “I have to make others better. We don’t have the right to be mediocre.”

Given his fervor and generosity, those around him are convinced that he’s destined for the priesthood. Walter, on the other hand, is certain that his mission is to be a layman in the world. He feels called to witness and evangelize. His friends say that he’s already a full-time catechist. 

Unfortunately, Walter contracts tuberculosis. Before he dies, he asks his mother to cover him with roses when he passes away. At the wake, a sweet scent spreads through the congregation. It is said the flowers bloomed three times. The Coadjutor Bishop of Montevideo, Monsignor Barbieri, was among the witnesses.

Walter Chango died on November 18, 1939. He was recognized as a servant of God on November 3, 2001. During his short life, he never ceased to touch hearts by transmitting his love for Christ.

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