Four Augustinian Recollects celebrate their priestly golden weddings in the Santa Monica Parish, Zaragoza, Spain with friars, family, and friends.
On June 29, solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Augustinian Recollects Florencio Juntas, Carlos Imas, Manuel Abecia and Félix Echarri celebrated their priestly golden weddings in the Parish of Santa Monica in Zaragoza city, Spain.
At noon the four honorees gathered around the altar of the parish church, accompanied by Augustinian Recollects from the communities of Las Rozas (Madrid), Marcilla (Navarra), the Romareda School of Zaragoza and the host parish. Also, family, very close friends and parishioners of the Parish where the act took place attended. Also, the mass had the participation of the Choir of the Romareda School, which supported with the different songs of the celebration.
Monsignor Eusebio Hernández Sola, Augustinian Recollect bishop of Tarazona, Zaragoza, presided over the Eucharist of thanksgiving and in his homily began by congratulating the Augustinian Recollect friars for having been witnesses of faith and agents of God's mercy throughout fifty years of priesthood. He also stressed that they have reciprocated with their own lives in the service of the Church and Jesus is celebrated again in each of them and asks them again: "Do you love me?", and, like Peter, they can answer him: "Lord, you know me about everything, you know how much we have loved each other."
On the other hand, he exhorted the honorees to continue with that story of salvation that is God's love story, and that this story be extended to each of the people with whom they share daily. Finally, he pointed out that a good shepherd is the one who welcomes, listens, accompanies, like Jesus, his sheep. He added that it is important to remember that at the heart of the priesthood is the surrender of Jesus who came to serve and not to be served.
After communion, Carlos Imas, Félix Echarri and Manuel Abecia addressed the assembly thanking them for their company and prayer. Charles highlighted the biblical phrase present in the remembrance distributed on the anniversary where it says, "taken from among men and put to intervene on behalf of men in everything that refers to the service of God." Felix asked for forgiveness and thanked God for the gifts he received. Manuel shared a personal creed:
"I believe in the history of salvation, which was pierced by the gaze and love of God, that June 29, 1971, and came to meet me to invite me to serve. I believe in the patience of the Father God who has had with me, welcoming patience, serene as the starry nights of our summers. I continue to believe and wait in the surprise of each day that manifests itself in the love and strength that accompany me always, always, until the definitive encounter with that wonderful face that I want to know more, more. I believe that my parents are with the Lord God and with them, many people who in these fifty years showed me in many ways their appreciation and affection; I know and feel his intercession over my priesthood and finally, I believe in Mary, the Virgin, the Mother of God. I feel your protection, your help, your affection and I know you will never leave me alone." amen.
To the point the faithful attendees reacted with a warm applause that thrilled "the protagonists".
Then, Friar Rafael Mediavilla on behalf of the provincial prior Sergio Sánchez, who for pastoral reasons could not be at the celebration, addressed a few words to the friars who celebrated their golden wedding.
The Mass concluded with the singing of the Hail Mary and the thanks of Friar Florencio Juntas, pastor of the Parish of Santa Monica.
After the thanksgiving mass, the honorees and their guests continued the celebration by sharing lunch in the dining room of the Romareda School.