During an emotional mass that they concelebrated on Saturday, February 11 at the San Marcos Evangelista Parish in Maryland, United States, priests who were exiled by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, asked to continue praying for the bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa, Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, but also for Nicaragua that “is hungry for God.”
Father Ramiro Reynaldo Tijerino Chávez presided over the religious celebration in which he asked for prayers for the 222 political prisoners who were exiled on February 9. He also offered the Eucharist for the families that remained in Nicaragua and for Bishop Álvarez, of whom he said “the Lord is giving him that strength and courage to continue proclaiming the Gospel there, in those circumstances.”
Father Óscar Danilo Benavides Dávila, originally from San Isidro, Matagalpa, and parish priest of the Espíritu Santo Parish in Mulukukú, Diocese of Siuna, in the North Caribbean, read the Gospel. While the homily was given by Father Sadiel Antonio Eugarrios Cano, second vicar of the Cathedral of San Pedro Apóstol in the city of Matagalpa.
“You do not have to be afraid. We must bear witness to our baptism,” said Father Sadiel in his homily, recalling the proclamation of the psalmist: “You are Lord our refuge.”
“The more than 200 Nicaraguans who have come to this country, we come with great uncertainty, to seek refuge in families, good people who have received us with such an expanded heart, so big, seeking comfort, because unfortunately evil has taken over. some hearts that need conversion and we must pray for the conversion and salvation of souls, not for condemnation”, said Father Sadiel.
Forced Eucharistic fast
Meanwhile, before the blessing, at the end of the mass, Father Ramiro told the attendees that it was until Friday, February 10, that they could go to the chapel of the United States Episcopal Conference and celebrate a mass and “after six months we were able to break that forced fast… being hungry is ugly and even more so when the bread that is needed is the bread of the Eucharist”.
“We had strength, my brothers, there in El Chipote,” said the religious, telling that they had to make a spiritual communion, given the impossibility of doing it sacramentally and “the Lord fed us.”
Father Óscar was arrested on August 14, 2022 in Mulukukú and taken directly to El Chipote.
While priests Tijerino and Eugarrios, as well as Father José Luis Díaz, deacon Raúl Vega, seminarians Darvin Leiva and Melkin Centeno, as well as photojournalist Sergio Cardenas, were forced to confine themselves in the Matagalpa Episcopal Residence with Monsignor Álvarez from August 4 to 19 of that same month they were taken to El Chipote.
fall to your knees
“They took us by force at three in the morning,” Father Ramiro recalled.
“The second day I went to the interrogation and when they return me to the cell, there are some cement bunk beds, a slab, when I entered I noticed that there was a bag of bread and some juice. I said, who could have brought this to me and I thought: ‘it can’t be anyone other than my mother (Mayra Chávez)’, and at that moment I imagined my mother, outside, just as she was when her grandson (Manuel ) in 2018. And we were outside, precisely in El Chipote, with my sister. There we passed at the gate… priests accompanied me and that time Monsignor Rolando Álvarez also arrived to celebrate a mass outside El Chipote. Then I imagined my mother outside and I couldn’t hold back the tears. I fell to my knees, I cried like my brothers cried… ”, she recounted.
Original text published by CSI Mosaic