Bishop of Funchal Commemorates 97th Anniversary of Blessed Karl's Death
Photos by Duarte Gomes
The bishop of Funchal, Madeira, served as celebrant and homilist on Monday, April 1, 2019, for a Mass commemorating the 97th anniversary of Blessed Karl of Austria’s death. On the occasion, Bishop Nuno Brás da Silva Martins challenged the faithful to ask God, through the intercession of Blessed Karl of Austria, that this Lent may be a time of reconciliation with his people.
The fact that Blessed Karl chose the island for his abode, he said, "Can not leave us indifferent. He was a man of peace, he was a man who sought to do God's will, and he was a man who conveyed around him a serenity, a harmony, and a happiness that can only come from God. He chose this island to spend his last days. He did so because everything here spoke of the harmony and peace that he inwardly lived and sought to spread around him."
Bishop Nuno Brás began his homily by speaking of something that is common to every human being: the aspiration for Paradise. To reach "a place where everyone can live in happiness, one must want and desire to reach Paradise. How many times as a child did we set out to do good, but we came to the end of the day and to the sad conclusion that the good intentions of the morning had been easily forgotten. This is the drama of ‘the human being’ and before this drama, from time to time, dictators appear—those who say if you follow me, if you do what I say, you will get there. The history of humanity, especially that of the last century, is full of dictators, small or large, who promise Paradise. In the first reading, the prophet spoke of the ‘new world where we can be ourselves’. Jesus invites us to other actions and promises us eternal life. The great difference [between the world and that which Jesus offers us] is that he presents us all with this as a gift of God. It is not human will, but about being capable of the attitude of those who welcome and those who receive; the attitude of those who allow themselves to be transformed for God. This is, moreover, the way of Lent: Let God convert us and let his love overcome our sin and his life overcome in us that which is still so often dead. Truly in the Eucharist we savor this new world and live in anticipation of the life of God in us. It was this attitude that Blessed Karl of Austria discovered and lived and that he sought to spread.”
Before the final blessing, the bishop went to Emperor Karl’s tomb, where he prayed and laid flowers. Following the Mass, the parish priest of the Mount, Fr. Victor, thanked the Bishop and all those present who made it a point to participate in the celebration, including the Emperor's family. Bishop Nuno Brás also received a certificate from the Emperor Karl Prayer League of Prayer, which read: We are pleased to accept you as an honorary member of the Blessed Karl League of Prayer in Mexico. We are very pleased to welcome you into our League of Prayer so that, in union and prayer with the Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria, you may support the work of peace between nations.
The Bishop was presented with two books on Blessed Blessed Karl, one by D. Teodoro de Faria and one by Father Vergamota. Festivities followed, along with a small performance by the Monte Verde Group at the statue of Emperor Karl.