Pastoral visit: "Take the pulse to know how you are, not to monitor"

Bishop Santos Montoya, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Madrid, made the pastoral visit to Saint Rita Parish in Madrid from November 8-10, which belongs to the deanery of Our Lady of the Angels, although the visitor had already maintained on previous dates meetings with the priests of the deanery and other specific parochial in groups in the region.
News | 2019 Nov 13

Santos Montoya clarified the purpose of the pastoral visit: "Take the pulse to know how you are, not to monitor". His intention was to generate processes, to enhance what each Parish is doing more than to detect any faults that may exist. However, he repeated again and again, to one group and another, that we had to live in truth and avoid the farce, hiding the problems. He called for free speech, to ask questions without hesitation, because it was the only way to know the truth and move forward in solving problems.

The visit was brief in time, but intense in activities and contacts. Before noon on the 8th he arrived at the Parish, met with the parish priest, the Augustinian Alberto Moreno Carrillo  and saw the parish books; then he shared, together with Don Juan Carlos Merino, vicar of Vicariate  VII to which the Parish of Saint Ritabelongs, the meal with the community of religious and a long meal in a relaxed and familiar climate to start at four the first meeting with the teenagers who are preparing for the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Meeting with the confirmands and catechists

At four o'clock in the afternoon Bishop Santos  entered the parish hall where thirty of the confirmands were waiting for him, along with the catechists who accompanied them. The intention of the catechists and the bishop himself was to greet them and be with them for about twenty minutes, but the teenagers did not hesitate to ask all sorts of questions and concerns to the bishop, who, for his part, let them ask as many things as they wanted, but Bishop Santos Montoya  had the ability that in a dialogue with counter-questions it was the same teenagers who gave the appropriate answer to their peers. The scheduled twenty minutes became a long hour. It had to be cut so that the bishop would have time to meet with the parish priest and parish vicars.

Meeting with the parish priest

Alberto Moreno, Marciano Santervás ,  José Manuel González Durán,  Germán Antonio Antón  and  Eliseo González were present at this meeting.

At the beginning of this meeting the parish priest informed the Bishop of the State of Parish; which was constituted by the Parish Pastoral Team and the Standing Committee elected by the Pastoral Team; that it has drawn up the Pastoral Plan which includes the concrete programming of the various pastoral activities: charity, catechesis, the sick, evangelization and culture, bible... The parish priest also reported that the Parish lacks youth activities and family pastoral care, although steps are planned immediately. He also stressed that the Economic Council is formed and functioning, as soon as it draws up the annual budget and signs the exercise to be sent to the Archdiocese, but it has to take responsibility for the real financial state of the parish and establish channels for the economy to improve through collections for the maintenance of the church and pastoral care.

The bishop, for his part, praised that there was already a pastoral project, because it means that there has been a work and a thought behind it; he encouraged the laity to be more involved as animators of all pastoral care; stressed the need to facilitate dialogue and human and relational aspects.

Meeting with Caritas Saint Rita

Without giving rise to rest, the bishop met with the team of Caritas, made up of ten parishioners and the director, also present was parish priest Alberto Moreno. Bishop Santos  took the floor to underline the importance of the pastoral care of charity, which is normally channelled through parish caritas, the importance of the parish care of the parish. Marciano Santervás, reminded everyone present how the pastoral care of charity was cultivated in this Parish before being instituted as such, so Caritas parish, as an organization, already found a path walked when it was implanted in this Parish. He also referred to the generosity of the people of this neighborhood who have allowed not only to attend and welcome those in need of the Parish, but also to bring aid to other institutions that care for the elderly or disadvantaged in general.

Mr. Celestino Rodríguez, president of Cáritas Saint Rita, reported on current activities and the economy.

The bishop was particularly interested in the funds Caritas was managing and how he employed them and pointed out some criteria for action to prevent the good faith of Caritas volunteers from getting into cases that, in themselves, must be solved through City Council or other civil institutions.

They were more than sorry when the meeting with Caritas ended. A few minutes of rest for a coffee and at seven-thirty the meeting began with the last planned group, the Parish Pastoral Team.

Parish Pastoral Team

Almost all members of this Team and a few others attended this meeting. In the hour-and-a-half meeting, on the one hand the bishop, after justifying the visit and showing his appreciation to the Parish and the members of the Team, called for co-responsibility, the need to accommodate different opinions , to give everyone the possibility of manifesting their way of thinking, even if they disagree on "our feeling," even if they are disbelieved; explained what the structure of the diocese was, gave rise to the questioning or opinions that they wanted and encouraged them, as lay people, to be salt of the earth, to evangelization, because they could get where neither the priest nor the bishop reaches. Finally, he stressed the need to be open to dialogue with all, and, in the face of difficulties, to be purpose-a-propositive.

At all meetings Archbishop Santos encouraged the promotion of relations with all, regardless of their line of thought, and was very accessible, close and cordial.

Sunday Mass

On Sunday, the 10th, he returned to the Parish to preside over the parish Mass at 1 p.m. He was accompanied by the Vicar Juan Carlos Merino, the priestly team of the Parish and the prior of the religious  Escolapios. The large group of altar boys, well rehearsed and dressed each in his robe, helped to give greater solemnity to the Eucharistic celebration which, while singing the entrance chant, approached the altar in procession through the central corridor of the temple.  Germán Antonio Antón, Augustinian priest, led the songs in the liturgical function accompanied by the organ.

In the homily the bishop, being the Day of the Diocesan Church, made a brief comment on what is a diocese and other minor ecclesiastical organizations, until framing the Parish within the organization of the Diocese. He later commented on the readings of the day's Mass, stopping especially in the chorus of the psalm: “Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full."

Before the prayer of the faithful, the Bishop blessed and made the "official" sending of the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.

At the end of Mass Bisho Santos went to the exit of the temple to greet and say goodbye to the faithful who had attended the Eucharist. Finally, he also participated, together with the other priests, in Spanish wineprepared for the parishioners.

The impression left by the visitor's presence was pleasant, just as he and Vicar Juan Carlos Merino  had a pleasant impression of the Parish without having to leave any notice or warning.

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