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?From sinners to fisherman

?From sinners to fisherman

The only liturgical
celebration in Bolivia was held on Thursday morning, 9 July, when the Pope
celebrated Mass in the Christ the Redeemer Square in Santa Cruz for the opening
of the 5th National Eucharistic Congress. In
the large open space dominated by the column on which stands an imposing statue
of Jesus with arms raised to heaven, Francis boarded the popemobile which
struggled to drive due to the crowd. More than 2 million people followed on the
40 large screens placed along the avenues which flow towards the square where
the altar was located. Francisco de los pobres is a expression often
found here. Among those present, the Pope recognized two old acquaintance: a
sister, whom he greeted with affection; and then one of the concelebrating

During the
votive Mass for the Most Holy Eucharist, in the presence of President Morales
and several ecumenical delegates, there were many elements in the liturgy which
recalled local cultures. The stage, beautiful in its simplicity, was made
according to the style of Jesuit missions in
Chiquitania, inhabited by seven peoples who have names of Catholic

The Pontiff used a staff made from the wood of the local
plant soto, on which was carved an angel, Our Lady Undoer of Knots and Christ
the Good Shepherd.

The theme of vocation returned that afternoon when, at
the Coliseum of Don Bosco College, the Pope met with priests, religious and
seminarians of the region of Santa Cruz. In the gym of the school run by the Salesians, Francis listened
to the testimonies of a priest, nun and young seminarian, also responding to
their questions, adding many of his personal considerations to his prepared

Gianluca Biccini on assignment in Bolivia

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