Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bishop St. Turibius of Mongrovejo (1538-1606) - Memorial Mass for Archbishop Lawrence Burke

Together with Rose of Lima and Martin de Porres, Turibius is the first known saint of the New World, serving the Lord in Peru, South America, for 26 years.

Born in Spain and educated for the law, he became so brilliant a scholar that he was made professor of law at the University of Salamanca and eventually became chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. He succeeded too well. But he was not sharp enough a lawyer to prevent a surprising sequence of events.

When the archdiocese of Lima in Peru required a new leader, Turibius was chosen to fill the post: He was the one person with the strength of character and holiness of spirit to heal the scandals that had infected that area.

He cited all the canons that forbade giving laymen ecclesiastical dignities, but he was overruled. He was ordained priest and bishop and sent to Peru, where he found colonialism at its worst. The Spanish conquerors were guilty of every sort of oppression of the native population. Abuses among the clergy were flagrant, and he devoted his energies (and suffering) to this area first.

He began the long and arduous visitation of an immense archdiocese, studying the language, staying two or three days in each place, often with neither bed nor food. He confessed every morning to his chaplain, and celebrated Mass with intense fervor. Among those to whom he gave the Sacrament of Confirmation was St. Rose of Lima and possibly St. Martin de Porres.

[Occasionally I have proposed to my Confirmation candidates their example, arguing that, if a couple of them became saints as Rose and Martin did, perhaps I, like Toribio, might get considered for having conferred on them the Holy Spirit to guide their lives in the way of Jesus!]

His people, though very poor, were sensitive, dreading to accept public charity from others. Turibius solved the problem by helping them anonymously.

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Remembering Archbishop Larry Burke before the Lord

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Tomorrow evening, I will preside at a Commemorative Mass that will be offered for the repose of the soul of the late Archbishop Lawrence Burke, S.J., fourth Archbishop of Kingston (in Jamaica).

Venue and time: the Chapel of St. Joseph at Regis College, 100 Wellesley Street West, Toronto (corner of Queen's Park Crescent East) at 7:30 PM; reception to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Your Excellency,

    It is with great sadness I learn of Abp. Burke's passing and rejoice for his soul, now freed from the anguish and distress of daily life and the sufferings he had to bear in his later years.

    It was about this time last year I had (as a Catechist) the great blessing of presenting to Abp. Burke my class of Confirmandi for the Sacrament of Confirmation. I believe he was here in Miami from Kingston to further his treatment for cancer. Already he knew it would be the cancer that would usher him to eternal life, and he accepted this with grace and peace.

    His homily was an amazing witness and his personal kindness to all the confirmandi will be indelibly etched in my memory. He took time out, tired and weary and infirm as he was, to speak with each confirmandi (over 90+) and give each of them a brief, individualized catechesis.

    I remember him beaming when one boy told him he had chosen as his patron St. Ignatius because his great-uncle had been a Jesuit martyred in Spain.

    His witness will sorely be missed.

    Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescant in pace. Amen.