While in Mexico we (Bud, Paula and I) attended three large celebrations that featured Bishop Samuel Ruiz. One was a Congress on Pastoral Theology, another was an event at INESIN to identify and celebrates partners in carrying forward Bishop Ruiz agenda, and the third, most public was an open air Mass in the square – Peace Square – next door to the Cathedral.

To give some idea of that third event I want to share a translation of sorts of the remarks of the current Bishop, Felipe Arizmendi. Those who prefer Spanish can find the complete text on the website of the Diocesef of San Cristobal de Las Casas.


We meet with joy to celebrate 50 years since jTatic Samuel Ruiz Garcia was ordained a bishop here in our Cathedral at the age of 35. We thank God for the total surrender of your life, your walk in the soil and the mud of the three regions that make up our diocese: Forest, Border and the High-lands. We thank God for his commitment to liberation from the shackles of slavery suffered by most indigenous brothers. We thank God – and that is the Eucharist, a thanksgiving, for his permanent-prophetic denunciations against injustices that our people have suffered, not only in Chiapas and Mexico, but also concerning global structures of injustice and fairness worldwide.

Thank you very much, Don Samuel, for your generous dedication to our people. Thanks very much for all the sacrifices, for the walk among us, because of your closeness and commitment to the oppressed. That you, with all your being, are an offering pleasing to the Father God, with the grace of the Spirit, through Christ, with him and in him and that he will keep you in good health, grace and peace.

Jesus Christ our Lord is the visible manifestation of the merciful love of our good Father God, realizing the old promises of a liberating evangelization to the poor. Jesus Christ is our inspiration, our only path, the source of our life, the goal of our pilgrimage, our Savior, Redeemer, Deliverer. Therefore, we conclude the Jubilee Year with the Eucharist, as we put on the altar, along with Jesus, victim and sacrifice His life and work, jTatic Samuel, to be resurrection and hope, full of life for our peoples.

We are here with you, to thank the whole church family: First, is his brother Joseph, his nephews, relatives and friends (standing and applause). They accompanies us from heaven, Luchita, his dear sister and their parents and kin.

He is accompanied by sisters and brothers of other faiths (standing and applause), on this day so meaningful to you and the ecumenical movement, since today concludes worldwide Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

He is joined by brother bishops: Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera, our Metropolitan Archbishop, who is representing the Council of Presidents of our Episcopal Conference. We accompany Bishop Arturo Lona, Emeritus of Tehuantepec, Bishop Victor Coral, Riobamba, Ecuador, Bishop Raul Vera of Saltillo, Bishop Leopoldo Gonzalez, Tapachula, Bishop Benjamin Castillo of Tabasco, Bishop Jose’ Luis Mendoza, Assistant Tuxtla Gutierrez, and our dear brother Enrique Diaz.

He also is accompanied by our Pope Benedict XVI, who sent him a special Apostolic Blessing, which reads: Our Venerable Brother, Samuel Ruiz Garcia, Bishop Emeritus of San Cristobal de Las Casas. We are very pleased with his Golden Jubilee of Episcopal Ordination, at the same time recognizing their activities in the diocese entrusted to his pastoral care. We express our spiritual closeness. The Pope imparts his apostolic blessing as a sign of divine grace. Given at the Vatican, on the 30th day of December, 2009.

At the end of Mass, Don Samuel will give the blessing with plenary indulgence to those who are eligible for the grace of God, have communion and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Thank you very much to those who join us in this jubilee celebration, have come from other dioceses and other countries (standing and applause).

Thank you very much, particularly the large number of sisters and brothers of believers who have come on pilgrimage from all parishes of the diocese, to express his gratitude to Samuel jTatic and to express their pain and suffering, their claims and requirements, which are offering prayer and united to the redemptive of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

Thank you very much to the communities, catechists, animators, seminarians, deacons, sisters, brothers and priests, who put so much effort to celebrate the Jubilee Year in the seven jTatic Samuel pastoral regions of the diocese. Thank you very much, especially to those who organized the recent Theological-Pastoral Congress, which has helped us strengthen and promote the way of our diocesan Church to be in the challenges that this change of era we face, a Church native liberating evangelization servant, in communion and under the guidance of the Spirit, as indicated by our Third Synod and the Diocesan Pastoral Plan.

Let’s continue to celebrate this Jubilee, whose summit is the redemptive mystery of Christ, which extends and makes present the passion, death and resurrection of his people. We accompany our dear sister, Clemen, who will travel to bury her brother Elias Becerra, who passed away this morning.

This day coincides with the jubilee celebration of the liturgy of the conversion of the Apostle Paul, martyr servant of Jesus Christ, evangelizing that opened the doors of the church to other cultures, host of fraternal communities, the diversity of gifts and charismas.

Thank you very much, Don Samuel. Thank you very much to each and everyone. Let us enjoy this jubilee celebration.

+ Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel
Bishop of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas

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