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      Padre Félix Varela y Morales

(1788-1853)

A  Cuban Catholic priest who loved his country and became an Apostle for Immigrants in New York
 

 

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Recent Events:   (This page will be updated periodically. Please send news and events related to Father Varela to the host of this page: jmn@navia.us

***Great Joy in the New York Church (2006)

Pope Benedict XVI has named three auxiliary bishops for the Diocese of Brooklyn in New York, reported the Catholic News Press on June 6, 2006. They include Msgr. Octavio Cisneros, rector of the Cathedral Seminary Residence of the Immaculate Conception and secretary for priestly formation; Msgr. Guy Sansariq, pastor of St. Jerome Parish and national director of Haitian Ministry; and Msgr. Frank J. Caggiano, Episcopal vicar for Evangelization and Pastoral Life. The nominations increase the number of auxiliary bishops for the diocese to four.

Msgr. Cisneros has been a dedicated supporter of the Cause for Canonization for Father Félix Varela and will continue to work with enthusiasm in this mission so dear to the Cuban people inside and outside the Island. May the Virgin of Charity, patroness of Cuba protect and encourage him in the works to be done ahead!

*** Videografia, the Brazilian company which has produced a number of documentaries such as MALAGRIDA (the life and works of Father Gabriel Malagrida, Apostle of Brazil) and others has completed production of a documentary video on Father Félix Varela. They obtained numerous documents, films, and interviews in Spain, Cuba, Miami, St. Augustine, and New York. The director of the project Renato Barbieri and his collaborators Victor Leonardi, Andrea Fenzl, and others have also released a 16 minute promotion DVD entitled "Félix Varela-Un Santo Cubano." The final video  illustrates the saintly life, democratic ideas, and travels of Father Varela and will be released early this year. This video is a valuable source of information that should help the canonization process of the Cuban priest.  For information contact the Director at: videografia@videografia.com.br  Tel/Fax (61) 327-1584 Brasilia DF.

***Pope Benedict XVI released on January 25, 2006 his first encyclical document entitled "Deus Caritas Est" In the introduction he explains: "In a world where the name of God is associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence, this message is both timely and significant. For this reason, I wish in my first Encyclical to speak of the love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others."  How much Father Varela would have enjoy reading such a document describing love to a world that hates and does not know peace!

*** "Ecos de Varela" the Bulletin from the Fundación Padre Félix Varela in Miami edited by Francisco J. Muller and Rogelio de la Torre reminds us of the following in its last April 2009 issue:

  •   The Fundación Padre Féix Varela in Miami celebrated last year on the 20th  of May a special banquet, El Banquete Vareliano, to honor Father Varela and also to celebrate 20 years of being founded.
  • An invitation was extended for all in the Miami area to visit the monument built to honor Father Varela across from the Regional Library in Coral Way and 95th Avenue.
  • The Fundación Padre Felix Varela has prayer cards in Spanish and English, as well as an illustrated history of Father Varela for young readers (in Spanish) that can be obtained by writing to their postal address: PO Box 653335, Miami Fl. 33265-3335.

***  Recordando momentos en la vida del Padre Varela:

   *** Important events in the life of Father Varela in February:

1853: Because his health had deteriorated, Father Varela decided to look for a milder climate and  traveled to St. Augustine where Rev. Aubril had provided accommodations at a small house next to the church. On Friday, February 18th, his health took a turn for the worst and he died that evening. He was interred on February 25th after a funeral Mass attended by friends and parishioners who loved him and considered him a saintly priest. We continue to remember his dedicated life and service deeds as we commemorate in 2010 the 156th  anniversary of his death and pray for his Catholic recognition as a holy and saintly priest.

***Some December events in the Life of Father Varela

1809: On December 4th, Varela, who was only 20 years old, received four Minor Orders and Sub-diaconate and continued his cleric/pastoral service in the diocese of San Cristobal de la Habana.

1810: Varela, although not old enough, was ordained Permanent Deacon on December 22nd in a ceremony at the Catedral de la Habana (See illustration in the Home page.)

1824: On December 9th, the victory of Ayacucho in Perú was celebrated, thus consolidating the independence movement in South America. Cuba and Puerto Rico remained as Spanish Colonies in the Caribbean.

1835: On December 16, there was a great fire in lower Manhattan which destroyed Christ Church again. The community was forced to split between St. James and the new Transfiguration Church.

1842: On December 20th, Bishop Dubois died and his Coadjutor Hughes became the new bishop. He called forth the First Diocesan Synod in New York which was organized with the help of his tow vicar generals: Revs. Power and Varela.

1852: Lorenzo Allo, an alumnus of San Carlos and co-founder of the Democratic Atheneum of New York, traveled to St. Augustine on December 25. He was shocked at Father Varela's poor health and miserable situation; urgent help was needed.

 ***Some November events in the life of Father Varela:

1788: On November 20th Félix Varela y Morales was born in Havana. The father was Teniente Francisco Varela y Perez ( born in Tordesillas, Castilla la Vieja, Spain) and the mother was María Josefa Morales y Medina, who was born in Santiago de Cuba. (Celebramos en ese día su natalicio hace 221 aňos!!) He was baptized on November 27 in the Church Santo Ángel Custodio in Havana and given the name Félix Francisco José María de la Concepción Varela y Morales.

1849: On November 27th the financial situation of the Church of Transfiguration is so precarious that the trustees started discussing the possibility of selling the church building in public auction. Father Varela, even though he had severe health problems, continued to fight to save the church.

*** Some October Events in the life of Father Varela:

1822: Father Varela is in Spain waiting to participate in the Spanish Cortes. Certification papers for the elected representatives from Havana were delayed, and finally, on October 3rd, Father Varela was sworn in as a member of the Spanish Cortes in Madrid and deliberations started. He submitted a project with a preamble and 189 articles entitled: "Colonial Autonomous Government."

1826: Father Varela published on October 27th his Spanish translation of Jefferson's "Manual of Parliamentary Procedure" (Columbia College) dedicated to Cubans, while at the same time continuing his pastoral ministry for immigrants in St. Peter's Church in New York City.

1833: On Sunday, October 27th, when Father Schneller (who shared pastoral responsibilities with Father Varela) was offering Mass, a huge fissure in the interior wall of Christ Church appeared, and threatened to collapse the building. The Church was closed and the congregation had to move to rented space on William Street, and later, moved again to an upper room of a building on 45 Ann Street. Father Varela did not dismay and continued working to find a solution to this new challenge.

 

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Updated: February 1, 2010