The “Easter of Mariano Avellana” in a relevant year

The memory of the Pasqua celebration of our Venerable Fr. Mariano Avellana, this May 14th, acquires special relevance when 2023 marks the 150th anniversary of his arrival in Chile.

As we commemorate the 119th anniversary of the passing of the man who was considered the greatest missionary the country knew in his time, this Pasqua anniversary takes on an inseparable significance from the Sesquicentenary of his arrival, over and above his usual memory on the 14th of each month.

Almost 31 years separated the two dates in the life of the Venerable, from the time he set foot on Chilean soil until he died like the heroes: in the last of his more than 700 missions and preaching throughout the country; his offering of tireless evangelisation and preferential service to the sick, the imprisoned and the most abandoned.

Celebrating and questioning as a family

While the Claretian community of San José del Sur prepares several commemorative acts for the Sesquicentenary of the arrival of the Venerable to American land, this new anniversary of his Pasqua allows us to value in all its dimension the testimony of life that Mariano Avellana poses for the entire Claretian family. Even far away from the confines of America where he lived it without measure, his example of “missionary to the end” validates in fullness before the Church the charism of its founder and congregational father, Antonio María Claret, challenges especially his missionaries throughout the world, and illuminates for them a path that Mariano opened 150 years ago and has not lost its validity for the evangelisation of the XXI century

Because overcoming the natural tendency to be comfortable and easy-going in order to go out in urgency in search of the sick, the defeated by vice and the abused under the weight of selfishness, injustice and abandonment, is as demanding today as when the first Claretians set foot on American soil, and among them Mariano felt that he could not rest before the scourges of poverty at the very gates of the primitive community. In such a way he understood the need to sanctify himself as a missionary overcoming even the exhaustion of his strength and the pains that martyred him in life. The challenges of today have certainly changed the faces and the hardships, and in the globalised world the dramas that impelled Mariano to run tirelessly to the “frontiers”, as Pope Francis demands of religious and lay people today as an urgent and primordial need, are still present in different guises. In celebrating his memory on this 14th May and projecting it onto the 150 years since God himself came with him to bless this land, it is right and necessary to rejoice in the Lord and to thank him for having raised up such an apostle in it. But it is, above all, to assume in one’s own lifestyle the missionary witness that Venerable Mariano bequeathed to the Claretian family.

In the communities, as well as in the schools, sanctuaries and pastoral works of San José del Sur, there will be commemorations of the Venerable, either today, on nearby dates or throughout the year. Among those already underway, it is worth mentioning a programme of six short chapters on Youtube, which, starting today, will be offered on the 14th of each month by the parish priest of the Heart of Mary in Antofagasta, Pepe Abarza. The first one can be found at:

Mariano Avellana is a precious spiritual patrimony of the Congregation and the entire Claretian family. Therefore, his figure will surely be a worthy motive to reflect throughout the year and in different places on the “heroic” form that the Church has recognised his testimony of religious and missionary authenticity according to the charism of Claret.

Alfredo Barahona Zuleta, Vice-postulator of the Causa of the Venerable Fr. Mariano Avellana, cmf