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The charity of Saint Thomas of Villanova, teachings of life for the world today


The charity of Saint Thomas of Villanova, teachings of life for the world today
04-02-2018 España
The congress "Saint Thomas of Villanova, postulated as Doctor of the Church" held in Valencia from January 23 to 25 counted with the participation of about a hundred people who have been able to know the dedication to the poor or the theological influence of the saint through the presentations of a dozen experts.
The Catholic University of Valencia, the Diocese of Valencia and the Spanish Augustinian Federation have organized from January 23 to 25 a special congress to promote, support and disseminate the petition made to the Holy See that Thomas of Villanova, the holy Augustinian bishop of the city of Turia, be named as "Doctor of the Church".

The figure of this sixteenth-century saint returns to the present day thanks to his two vital examples with which he presents himself to the society of the 21st century: his social action with the most disadvantaged and the minorities; and its profound theological doctrine, from which this social action was nourished to become something completely necessary, inescapable and evangelizing; doctrine that he also struggled to inculcate the clergy through a continuous desire for training.

The Holy See accepted last year to study the request of the Spanish Episcopal Conference so that Saint Thomas of Villanova be named doctor of the Church, understanding that his doctrine is eminent to the cause. This title can be granted by the Pope or by a Council, and it comes to mean that the teachings of the saint are valid for all times and persons and helps to know, love and decipher the great truths of the Catholic faith.

The cardinal archbishop of Valencia, Antonio Cañizares, highlighted in the opening and closing of the congress the Thomasine thought and the need for the pastors of the Church to follow his example: "He did not care about riches, power, or the episcopal rank, nor fame. Only Christ and the salvation of the souls for whom he gave his life as a good shepherd. "

The Augustinian-Recollect Family was represented by the presence of various religious of the four Provinces that are currently in Spain. In addition, Enrique Gómez, member of this religious family, was one of the speakers with his insight into the relationship of the saint with evangelical poverty and its detachment.

The main concern of Thomas was the needy and marginalized of society, as Enrique Gómez commented. The so-called father of the poor was a person given totally to those who had nothing and, as emphasized during the presentation, "he presented a Christ poor for the poor."

During the Congress, along with the academic activity there was time to contextualize the life of the saint through an approach to the culture of the time, in the concert "Music for a holy bishop", with pieces by eleven composers of the XV-XVI centuries interpreted by Alejandro Marías and Manuel Minguillón. And through the "Thomasine Dialogues" a channel of participation was established for the audience.

The Valencia meeting is a call to the validity of the thought of one of the most deeply rooted saints of the popular faith of the Augustinian Family, Thomas of Villanova, who left a mark over the centuries by his dedication to the poor, his deep interiority and his example of life. The Catholic University of Valencia has in its own structure the so called Chair of Theology of Charity Saint Thomas of Villanova.

Some of the other speakers were Miguel Ángel Orcasitas, president of the FAE and member of the pro-doctorate commission, who spoke about the ideas of change and renewal that the saint introduced in the Augustinian Order; José Luis Sánchez, the director of the congress, touched on aspects of the relationship between Thomas of Villanova and what was later called the Social Doctrine of the Church.

José Máximo Lledó, director of the Chair of Theology of Charity, presented the former archbishop of Valencia as an innovator in the formation of the clergy; the Augustinian Josef Rzonca connected the saint with the encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" by Benedict XVI; Arturo Llin Chafer talked about the reforming archbishop and the Augustinian Gonzalo Tejerina was more specific in the theological, dogmatic and doctrinal aspects.

Representing the Province of San Nicolás de Tolentino at the Congress was the Prior Provincial, Sergio Sánchez, and the religious José Manuel Bengoa and José Manuel González Durán, who were welcomed into the Valencian parish of Our Lady of Hope, administered by the Province of Our Lady of Consolation.

The Congress closed with the words of the auxiliary bishop of Valencia, Esteban Escudero, hoping that it will soon be possible to see Friar Thomas of Villanova among the holy doctors of the Church.


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