His Eminence Oscar Andrés, SDB took time out from his busy schedule at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress Theology Symposium to visit the Salesian Community in Maynooth. The Cardinal is a Salesian himself having joined the Order in May, 1961. His early Salesian life was spent teaching music, chemistry and physics at Salesian schools in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Cardinal Maradiaga was in Ireland to address the symposium hosted by the Pontifical College and to attend the Congress itself been held in the RDS in Dublin. Cardinal Maradiaga splits his time and energies between his responsibilities as Archbishop of Tegucigala (Honduras) and his role as President of Caritas International.
Caritas is a confederation of 165 Catholic relief, development and social service organisations operating in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. Caritas Ireland is established under the name Trócaire and on Friday morning just before his visit to us in St Catherine’s he spent time with members of this organisation.
At the age of 35 years he was ordained bishop and became Archbishop in 1993. In 2001, he was proclaimed Cardinal by the late Pope John Paul II and is President of Caritas since 2007. He would continue to teach moral theology in the Catholic University of Honduras even after been declared Cardinal.
He continues to care deeply for the people of his diocese and its priests. He continues to be strong voice for social justices. While visiting the Salesian community in St Catherine’s he spoke of the ravages caused to his country by the drugs trade and the fact that his own life is under threat. He spoke of living under this threat and of putting himself in the hands of God. He came across as a very humble and cheerful man with a deep spirituality. He has an easy smile and spoke of his current joy of learning to fly a helicopter so that he can more easily transverse his vast diocese and be present to its people, especially the young. He has a deep sense of responsibility to the clergy and lay ministers of his diocese. The Salesian vocation is very much alive in his heart and manner. May the Lord continue to bless and watch over him.