Mar 11, 2024
Argentina – 10th Pilgrimage of St Artemide Zatti

(ANS – Viedma) – With the motto “In prayer with Zatti, we are mission”, the 10th Pilgrimage in honour of Artemide Zatti took place on the weekend of 9 and 10 March 2024 in Viedma, in the Argentine province of Río Negro, in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of his death on 15 March 1951. 

The event, organized by the five parishes of Viedma, brought together thousands of faithful from the Viedma-Patagonia region and people from other places too, gathered to implore his intercession and to thank him, there in the city where the ‘relative of the poor’ carried out his work and where his remains rest today.

On Saturday 9, the activity began at 4pm, with a bicycle pilgrimage from the Don Bosco parish to the St Artemide Zatti chapel in the Zatti neighbourhood on the outskirts of Viedma. Hundreds of boys, girls, adolescents and young people, together with their families, took part in the Mass, which was presided over by the local bishop, Salesian Bishop Esteban Laxague, and concelebrated by Fr Luis García and Fr Pedro Narambuena, Director of the Salesian house in Viedma and Vice-Postulator of the Cause of Canonization of Zatti.

Dwelling on the bicycle as a symbol of Artemide Zatti’s mission, the Salesian bishop said that if someone lost a wheel on his bicycle, perhaps Zatti would give it back today. “Riding a bicycle with one wheel missing is not easy. Jugglers ride on one wheel, but most of us, on one wheel, don’t last long on our feet. How nice then to think that on this festival Artemide Zatti can give us the wheel we are missing. And if we feel that we are walking with both wheels, let’s see if they are properly inflated”.

Continuing, the prelate recalled that ‘The Gospel challenges us to get closer to Jesus. It is he who can put the wheels of the bicycle back into shape so that we can pedal through life every day (…) Jesus was indeed the secret of Zatti’s life until the end of his days. And from eternity he continues to come to meet us, helping us to walk, because he always had his eyes and heart turned to Christ,” emphasized Mons Laxague again.

Paraphrasing the motto of this pilgrimage, the Bishop explained: “Zatti was himself a mission because he was a man of prayer. A man who put his trust in Jesus, a man whose heart was filled by Jesus, a man who knew how to see Jesus in all the sick, in all those who came to him and asked him for something’.

At the end of the Eucharist, and in memory of Zatti’s mission, the bishop and the priests present also administered the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

Later in the evening, an event was held at the Cultural Centre of the municipality of Viedma, attended by the mayor of Viedma, Marcos Castro, Bishop Laxague, Fr Narambuena, the Salesians of the Viedma community, some of Zatti’s relatives and a large group of pilgrims.

After speeches by the mayor  the bishop, and the parish priest of Boretto, Zatti’s hometown by videoconference, journalist Martín Marín presented the book and the documentary: Artémides Zatti Santo. El pariente de todos los pobres. Creí. Prometí. Sané (Saint Artemides Zatti. The relative of all the poor. He believed. Promised. Healed). These works refer to 25 first-source testimonies, which the filmmaker consulted over a period of two years while travelling in Viedma and throughout the country.

On Sunday 10, the activities began at 9 a.m. with a meeting of the pilgrims in the cathedral of Viedma, where the bishop welcomed them and said: “Before the tomb of Cardinal Giovanni Cagliero, the first bishop of these Patagonian lands, we begin this day. Cagliero, like Zatti, came from Italy, to give his life in these Patagonian lands. And they continue to encourage us on this beautiful journey of giving our lives for others. Unlike Cagliero, who rode around Patagonia on horseback, Zatti rode around the city on a bicycle”.

After walking through the streets of Viedma and passing by the episcopal curia and the ‘Artemide Zatti’ regional hospital, the faithful arrived at the ‘Don Bosco’ parish park, where the central mass of this pilgrimage was celebrated, presided over by Bishop Laxague and concelebrated by the local Salesian community and the parish priests of the five parishes in the town of Viedma.

In his homily, the bishop asked to “go out to others as Jesus did, that they may have life and life in abundance. At the feast of Zatti, it would be wonderful to discover that we can all give life to others… So today we ask for the grace to do good,” the Salesian bishop pointed out.

For the final blessing, Bishop Laxague invited doctors, nurses and health workers to the altar. Placing their hands on the altar, the bishop, the priests and all God’s people gathered raised their hands to bless each of them, their vocation, their work and their families.