Pope Francis has described Venezuelan physician Dr. José Gregorio as “an example of a believing disciple of Christ, who made the Gospel the criterion of his life, and was a model of modesty and humility.”
In a video message sent to the Bishops and people of Venezuela to mark his beatification; the Holy Father said the church is moving to confirm what the people of Venezuela believe “that the people's doctor stands by God and that together with Our Lady of Coromoto he intercedes for his compatriots and for all of us.”
The Pope said that the issue of Dr. José Gregorio's beatification kept on coming up any time he met a Venezuelan at the Vatican.
“He is a model of holiness committed to the defense of life, to the challenges of history and, in particular, as a paradigm of service to others, like a Good Samaritan, excluding no one,” said the Pope. “He is a man of universal service.”
Referring to his service to the poor, Pope Francis said Dr. José Gregorio “understood from the example Christ left us during the Last Supper, when he set out to wash the feet of his disciples... because he loved everyone.”
He noted that the Beatification of Dr. José Gregorio is taking place at a time when the people of Venezuela are suffering because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Pope said that although the beatification ceremony will be affected by Covid-19 restrictions, he hopes it will be a good day for everyone.
In his message, Pope Francis called to mind “all those who have left the country in search of better living conditions, and also those who are deprived of their freedom and those who lack the necessities of life. You are all fellow citizens of the Blessed One, all of you. And you all have the same rights. I accompany you with love,” he said.
“The beatification of Dr. Hernández is a special blessing from God for Venezuela,” the Pope underlined, “and it invites us to conversion toward greater solidarity with one another, to produce all together the response of common good so necessary for the country to recover, to be reborn after the pandemic in a spirit of reconciliation.”
Pope Francis asked Venezuelans to follow Dr. Hernández “admirable example of selfless service to others,” in the midst of the current health crisis.
“I sincerely believe that this moment of national unity, around the figure of the people's doctor, constitutes a special moment for Venezuela and demands of you that you go further, that you take concrete steps in favour of unity, without letting yourselves be overcome by discouragement,” he said.
The Pope concluded his video message by praying for peace in Venezuela. He also expressed his desire to visit the country.