A Day of mourning for the Campaign
Death of Bishop Ivo Lorscheiter, Bishop Emeritus of Santa Maria, Brazil- a great promoter of John Pozzobon’s Cause of Canonization
BRAZIL, mca. Bishop Ivo Lorscheiter, Bishop Emeritus of Santa Maria, died on March 5th at 4:00 p.m. at the age of 79 . He was a bishop for forty years. He always advised: "Do not let the hope that is in you die." His funeral took place March 6th, in the crypt of the Shrine of Mary the Mediator. Bishop Ivo gave the cause for beatification and canonization of John L. Pozzobon a great impetus.
Bishop Ivo had been in the Hospital of Charity in Santa Maria since February 25th where he had stomach surgery on the 28th.
Bishop Ivo was born in December of 1927 in Sao José do Hortencio (about 78 Km. from Porto Alegre). He studied in different Catholic institutions including Rome. In 1979 he was elected president of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil, an assignment which he carried out during consecutive terms, until 1987. A great part of his term took place when the country was governed by the military regime that took over after the overturn of the state in 1964. He was also secretary general of this entity from the year 1971 to 1979.
Previously he had served as Auxiliary Bishop of Porto Alegre for eight years, until 1974, when he assumed the Diocese of Santa Maria, in Rio Grande do Sul. At the time of his Episcopal consecration in 1965, he chose "Nova Et Vetera" (things both new and old) as his motto, which was inspired by the Gospel of Saint Matthew 13:32 This verse corresponded to the conditions that the Church was experiencing at that time, that is, when Vatican Council II was being implemented. Bishop Ivo participated in the last session as a recently named bishop, although he had not been consecrated yet. He was the shepherd of the Diocese of Santa Maria for 30 years, until 2004, when John Paul II accepted his resignation because of his age.
The long years that he dedicated at the service of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil, his two terms as secretary and two more as president, give witness to his ability and his leadership in the setting of the Church of Brazil, states a communiqué sent by the official site of the Episcopal Conference.
The wake took place in the Diocesan Cathedral Immaculate Conception of Santa Maria on March 6th.
A decisive instrument in the life and work of the "poor little donkey", John Pozzobon and his beloved campaign
This is the end of the communiqué, which at times does not transmit all of the richness of the person in question. Bishop Ivo was undoubtedly all that the Episcopal Conference affirms and much more, at least for Schoenstatt. He was a decisive instrument in the life and work of the "poor little donkey", John Pozzobon and in his beloved campaign. They met practically at the same time in which Bishop Ivo was transferred to Archdiocesan See of Santa Maria, where John Pozzobon visited many times, not only during his time as bishop, but also during the terms of the previous bishops, Bishop Antonio Reis and Bishop Enrico Ferrari. Pozzobon and Bishop Ivo developed a very close and deep bond from their first meetings onward.
Page 57 of "Hero Today Not Tomorrow", shows evidence of this bond: When he writes to Bishop Ivo on December 8, 1973, saying "It has been my custom to send a report to the bishop since the time of the highly revered Bishop Anthony Reis. As he was the first to allow it to function, he remains firmly rooted in the history of the Campaign and in its events as they unfold in time…The bishop replied to him in writing the next day: I note, and am moved at the realization, that your apostolic work in the slums and the suburbs is approaching its silver jubilee as it started twenty-five years ago, during the Holy Year. ...your daily prayer is real praise in our Diocesan Church and your pastoral work deserves our sincerest tribute."("Hero Today Not Tomorrow", Father Esteban Uriburu, Editorial Patris Argentina)
On page 70 of the same book, we read: In his report of December 1979 he explained to his bishop, "Bishop Ivo, we have to struggle on and not reduce our efforts, so that others will follow the example and work like this too…We shall just struggle on together. We shall sacrifice everything in order to gain everything." On January 22nd, his bishop replied to his letter, "I can imagine how Christ and His Mother, Mary, must take note of so much generous and holy work and how greatly enriched the Church is through this apostolate."
There was a profound friendship – beyond death
Many letters that were mutually written are cited in this book that is a testimony of the profound friendship and affection that they felt for one another. There is nothing better than to allow Father Esteban to speak about his experience about the events that surrounded the death of John, specifically on Friday, June 28th, at 9:30 in the Church of Our Lady of Grace: "The church was full. I went into the sacristy and saw, to my amazement, that Bishop Ivo Lorscheiter was there with other priests. He had specially come all the way from Brasilia, a distance of 2,000 Km., in order to preside at John’s Funeral Mass. Bishop Ivo, erect and calm was a dignified presider of the Eucharist. He had chosen the Mass of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, the Tabor Mass. On his initiative the Gloria was sung at the beginning of the Mass. His personality and voice gripped the attention of the congregation. In speaking about the Gospel, he wanted to draw from it some of the teaching of John’s life as a deacon, ‘a long life, apparently very simple, most wonderfully rich and fruitful in the kingdom of God’. In paying tribute in the name of the diocese of Santa Maria he wished to draw attention to certain aspects of John’s life that he would like to reproduce in his own life and which ought to characterize the life of every Christian. He listed three characteristics of the deacon: 1) A man with an apostolate…2) A man of prayer…3) A man of peace...For all these reasons we are saying the Mass of the Transfiguration. We have prayed the Gloria; we are singing and praising God for the riches that fill those who are faithful to him." ("Hero Today Not Tomorrow", pp.109-110).
It was pleasant and instructive to hear Bishop Ivo speak about John Pozzobon. There were so many anecdotes, so many memories that described him from head to toe. It was also pleasant to hear Bishop Ivo, who spoke with a very special affection of John and later of Father Esteban Uriburu. What a trio has been formed in heaven!
Continue working for the new evangelization through John’s Campaign
Many times he welcomed the pilgrims from Argentina in his home, where he listened attentively to their testimonies, he offered them his wise counsel and he gave them the impulse to continue working for the new evangelization through John’s Campaign.
He had the grace of opening the official process of canonization of the Servant of God, John Louis Pozzobon, in Santa Maria on December 12, 1994, the day of John’s birthday, the date chosen by Bishop Ivo. His emotion could be felt when he pronounced the words that are required in the rite that sounded like the music of angels in the ears of all present. He struggled untiringly for John’s cause of canonization until the last minute. How he wished to be present on that day…
Bishop Ivo always accompanied the Campaign, and today the Campaign accompanies Bishop Ivo in his passing into heaven, with its prayers, its gratitude, and its affection as a tribute. Thank you, Bishop Ivo, and greeting to John!
Translation: Celina Garza, Harlingen, TX, USA / Christi Jentz, Milwaukee, USA