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Cardinal who organized 1st World Youth Day advances toward sainthood

Eduardo francisco Pironio

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Philip Kosloski - published on 02/23/22

Cardinal Edoardo Pironio was an Argentine cardinal who helped St. John Paul II organize the 1st World Youth Day.

On February 18, Pope Francis recognized the “heroic virtues” of Cardinal Edoardo Pironio, a cardinal from Argentina, who was best known for his role in organizing the first World Youth Day.

Pironio was also a personal friend of Pope Francis, as they both lived in Argentina at one time.

St. John Paul II summarized his life during the homily for his funeral in 1998.

He was born on December 3, 1920, and was ordained a priest in the Basilica of Our Lady of Luján on December 5, 1943. In the first years of his ministry he carried out intense educational and didactic activities in the seminary of Buenos Aires. During the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council he was asked to take part in the work as a conciliar peritus. In 1964 Paul VI made him Auxiliary to the Archbishop of La Plata. He was then appointed Apostolic Administrator of Avellaneda and General Secretary of CELAM, of which he also became President. He was later promoted to the see of Mar del Plata. Paul VI wanted him to be close at hand, and entrusted him with the then Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes and in 1976 raised him to the dignity of Cardinal. On April 8, 1984 I myself called him to direct the Pontifical Council for the Laity, where he served until August 20, 1996, working throughout with youthful enthusiasm and total competence.

He then recalled his work in helping promote the first World Youth Day, “How could his great contribution to the celebration of the World Youth Days be forgotten? Here I would like to make public my heartfelt gratitude to this Brother who was a great help to me in the exercise of the Petrine ministry.”

Pope Francis called to mind Pironio’s contribution to Catholic Action in a letter addressed to them in 2021.

Pironio was a man with deep roots, with a memory anchored in the dynamism of history as a Kairos, a strong time of salvation, a time of work, trial, purification and hope. He loved Catholic Action and believed in the lay missionary vocation. The Church can testify that Catholic Action has opened up new perspectives in the field of the responsibility of the laity in Evangelization. Many evangelized and formed by Catholic Action put truth, depth and the Gospel in civil spheres, often closed to faith. The lay saints and blesseds of Catholic Action are a treasure for the Church. Those who were “the saints next door” of so many communities.

Pironio’s cause now requires a miracle to progress to the next step of beatification.

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