Cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araújo

Fr. Giussani's friend at Belo Horizonte

Cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araújo has died at the age of 95. He accompanied the movement in Brazil since the Sixties. Speaking about Fr. Giussani, he said: “He made everything pass through that diamond that is Christ".

Cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araújo, Archbishop Emeritus of Belo Horizonte, died on 8 October 2019, at the age of 95. Fr. Serafim was a friend of Fr. Giussani and of the movement since the early Sixties, when, as young auxiliary bishop and rector of the Pontifical Catholic University (Puc) in Belo Horizonte, he followed the first missionary experiences of the Archdiocese.

Particularly significant was the paternal concern he demonstrated towards priests. First of all, towards Fr. Pigi Bernareggi, to whom he entrusted the parish of All Saints and the pastoral care of the favelas. Subsequently, towards Fr. Virgilio Resi, who received, in addition to parish assignments, the responsibility of being rector of the seminary, of university pastoral work and, finally, of the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Piedade. He wanted Fr. Giovanni Vecchio to be an auxiliary in the formation of seminarians and a teacher at the Puc.

On several occasions, he expressed his esteem and appreciation for the charism of the laity of CL, soliciting their witness and their participation in the act of evangelization. The words pronounced on the occasion of the death of Fr. Giussani serve as an example: "Every time I saw Fr. Giussani, every time I read his writings, I was left with the image of someone who had a wonderful diamond of I don’t know how many carats, through which he reached everyone. What was this diamond? Fr. Giussani made everything pass through Christ: what was right, what was wrong, people, world history, everything passed through this diamond that is Christ himself. And this also applies to you! The mystery of communion was a truth for Fr. Giussani: everything was for Christ, with Christ and in Christ".

And, commenting on the approval of the Fraternity of CL by the Holy See, he said: "This, for me, is an opportune moment to speak about the esteem I have for Fr. Giussani and for this movement. I'm not saying this to please you. I feel that you have much substance, I feel that you know where to put your feet. This gives me great joy and tranquillity. Here, we have a large family of priests and lay people, which is one of the most beautiful things that has flourished in our diocese in recent years: people who live a true fraternity".

Thankful to the Lord for Fr. Serafim’s paternal and welcoming presence amongst us, let us remember him in our prayers.

The CL community in Brazil