(Santa Cruz, Bolivia) In a session of Honor to commemorate the 458th anniversary of the foundation of Santa Cruz of Sierra, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer received the “Melchor Pinto Parada” award on 26th February. This award is given to the personalities and/or to the institutions in the Santa Cruz Department, which are distinguished by their social work and benefits for the citizens of the area.
The award was introduced by a brief history of the Congregation in Bolivia, recalling its work at the service of the poor and the work evangelization throughout the country, leaving a legacy under the example of two cardinals of the Bolivian Church, Cardinal José Clemente Maurer, and Cardinal Julio Terrazas.
Emphasizing that the Redemptorists are a congregation that has been in Bolivia since 1910, arriving in Santa Cruz in 1929, and that founded the parish “Sweet Name of Jesus” in Vallegrande.
The award was presented by the Governor of Santa Cruz, Ruben Costas and by the President of the Legislative Assembly, Antonio Hugo Salmón, to Father Boris Calzadilla Arteaga, the Provincial Superior of the Redemptorists in Bolivia, who in the name of the whole Congregation thanked the merit received with the following words:
“I express my sincere gratitude to the Departmental Legislative Assembly, this distinction we receive in the name of all the Redemptorist Missionaries who gave their lives in this country, 110 years of history, the service for the good of others.
A respectful greeting to our governor, Ruben Costas, the President of the Legislative Assembly Antonio Hugo, all the authorities, national, departmental, civic, municipal, provincial, to all those who are responsible for managing and guiding our country and our department.
This Congregation was founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori in Naples, Italy, and has only one purpose: to follow Jesus Christ, by announcing the Good News to the poor and the abandoned.
When the Redemptorists arrived in Bolivia in 1910, they faced a very difficult reality, the poverty of our people who do not have access to basic services, and they, the young missionaries ask themselves how to announce the Good News to our brothers and sisters who are hungry for bread, thirsty for justice, a people in which poverty has become an attack on their dignity as sons and daughters of God.
Then they committed themselves to complete evangelization, in search of an integral development, which had as its center the life and dignity of every human being. We have worked for health, for education, for development, for the foundation of cooperatives, for technical training, drinking water, neighborhood organizations, and community civic organizations.
How can we not remember today the two great Cardinals, who were mentioned, the first Cardinal of Bolivia José Clemente Maurer; and the first Bolivian cardinal, Don Julio Terrazas Sandoval, and thank God for his charisma, his prophetic voice, his total abandonment to God, being men of faith and commitment, free men, defenders of freedom, prophets of hope, to be builders of unity, peace, social justice, and defenders of the poor.
Today, on this anniversary of the foundation of Santa Cruz, remember that this city was founded under the sign of the cross, it is the sign that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. It is the sign that there is no greater love than giving life to your brothers and sisters. This story in which we are all called to build it with dignity, for our people, with a full and abundant life for all.
Father Boris Calzadilla Arteaga, C.Ss.R.