OF THE 500 YEARS OF THE FIRST MASS IN CHILEAN TERRITORY
To His Excellency Most Reverend
Bishop Bernardo BASTRES FLORENCE, SDB
Bishop of Punta Arenas
I cordially greet you, as well as all the other brother Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful of all the dioceses of Chile, when they “remember” the celebration of the first Eucharist in Chilean territory on November 11. This is a historic date, not only for the diocese of Punta Arenas but for the entire Catholic Church in Chile, because 500 years ago, on November 11, 1520, Divine Providence wanted that, on Cerro Monte Cruz, in the Strait of Magallanes, the priest Pedro de Valderrama, chaplain of the Hernando de Magallanes expedition, offered for the first time, in those lands, the sacrifice of Holy Mass.
It is above all from the Eucharist, as the Second Vatican Council reminds us, from which "grace flows towards us, as from a source, and with maximum efficiency the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God is obtained" ( Const. Sacrosanctum Concilium , 10). For this reason, in this fifth centenary we can rightly say, as stated in the motto of the Diocese of Punta Arenas, that " God entered from the South ", since that first Mass celebrated with faith, in the simplicity of an expedition in a territory Unknown at the time, he began the Church that continues on pilgrimage in that beloved nation.
As a particular Church, they have prepared at length for this special date. But the pandemic, which affects the entire world, and is the cause of suffering and death for millions of our brothers and sisters, is an impediment for you to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the first Eucharist with massive liturgical acts, as you would have liked to do. However, even in the midst of this limitation, there is no obstacle that can silence the gratitude that springs from the hearts of all of you, sons and daughters of the Church on pilgrimage in Chile, who with faith and love renew their dedication to the Lord, with the sure hope that He will continue to accompany your journey in the future of history. I encourage you to live the celebration of the Eucharistic Mystery, which unites us to Jesus, with a spirit of adoration and thanksgiving to the Lord,
I spiritually unite myself to all of you, dear pastors and faithful of the holy people of God, in your gratitude to the Lord who continues to make "bread" in the Eucharist that satisfies the deepest hunger of every man and woman, summoning everyone in his love to to live a solidary and effective fraternity that does not exclude, does not oppress, does not ignore.
May Our Lady of Carmen, Model of the Church and Help of Christians, teach you to trust in the Lord and to do his will, in love and in justice, to witness to the world the joy of the Gospel.
I accompany you with the memory in prayer, and while I invoke the protection of the Mother of God on that beloved Church that is in Chile, I cordially impart the Apostolic Blessing to you.
And please don't forget to pray for me.
Rome, St. John Lateran, November 9, 2020
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation