Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Cordoba says that by proclaiming St. John of Avila a Doctor of the Church this Sunday, Pope Benedict is recognizing the saint as a model of evangelization for our times.
In his weekly letter to parishioners Oct. 4, Bishop Fernandez called the St. John of Avila a “holy teacher of saints, the driving force behind the great renewal of the Church in the 16th century.”
Bishop Fernandez said the Church in Spain has been awaiting this proclamation “for centuries, and we are now direct witnesses of it. Generations and generations before us, especially priests and bishops, have desired and asked for it.”
The faithful and religious from across Spain have worked to bring about this special designation, he said, but the Diocese of Cordoba has played a special role, as it was there that St. John of Avila was incardinated and where he carried out most of his pastoral work.
“He stayed in Cordoba, and it was in the Diocese of Cordoba that he died. He was buried in Montilla, where his tomb is venerated as a treasure and today takes on special significance.”
In his letter, the bishop also noted that the special Jubilee Year to mark the proclamation will be opened on Oct. 12 and that the Spanish bishops will make a pilgrimage to Montilla on Nov. 23 as they meet for their fall assembly.
Bishop Fernandez invited the faithful from across Spain to also make a pilgrimage to Montilla to pray for the intercession of St. John of Avila.
“The Diocese of Cordoba will come together on Sunday, Oct. 14 at the Cathedral…to give thanks to God for this immense gift that is being granted to the universal Church, and particularly, to the Diocese of Cordoba,” he said.
He concluded his letter praying that St. John of Avila will intercede for Catholics to obtain “all holiness of life, missionary zeal, and desire to spend our lives in service of the Church.”