1. We have concluded the jubilee on the occasion of the VIII centenary of our cathedral. We thank God for this event of grace. My thanks to the people, parishes, communities and diocesan institutions for your extraordinary involvement and effort, as well as the enormous work carried out by the Burgos Cathedral VIII Centenary Foundation and all the civil institutions that have collaborated. Although everything we have experienced – celebrations, spirituality, culture, concerts, congresses, publications, art, history, etc. – will mark our lives, I want to highlight a fundamental element of this jubilee: the celebration of the Diocesan Assembly whose Final Document will guide our action ministry for years to come. In this letter, in full harmony with the Assembly1, I would like to address mainly the issue of the ecclesial subject called to carry out the proposed actions, that is, each of us who are part of this Church and the specific communities that make it up. All this, in keeping with our participation in the Synod of Bishops on synodality that the Pope has called for the entire Church.
2. This Jubilee Year has providentially coincided with the beginning of my ministry in this beloved Church of Burgos. My recognition to Fr. Fidel Herráez, my immediate predecessor who began the preparation of the Jubilee Year, and to Fr. Francisco Gil Hellín for his dedication and service to our archdiocese. The time that I have spent with you has allowed me to personally get to know priests, deacons, communities of consecrated life, lay people with pastoral responsibility, as well as visiting parishes, archpriesthoods, monasteries and institutions that make up our diocesan Church. I thank God for so many gifts with which we are blessed. My deep appreciation and gratitude to all, tireless workers of the vineyard of the Lord.
I. Give to drink in the spiritual desert
3. The contemplation of the current times reminds me of the situation in which the vocation of the young Samuel takes place. Indeed, the first book of Samuel tells us that at that time “the word of the Lord was rare and visions were infrequent” (1Sam 3:1). And it is precisely in that time of spiritual drought that God raises the vocation of the prophet Samuel who responds generously: “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:10).
4. Similarly, we see that religious indifference grows in our society, ways of life are adopted where God no longer counts, a culture is propagated that is becoming refractory to many aspects of the Christian worldview and anthropology, where materialism, individualism, hedonism and relativism are permeating the way of thinking and, therefore, of living. Despite the fact that many people seek new forms of spirituality, we could define the current situation as one of spiritual desertification. And it is precisely in this context that God once again pronounces our names inviting us to the evangelizing task. it can be other than that of the young Samuel, full of gratitude and availability: «Here I am, speak that your servant listens».
5. And it is that God “comes to meet us in every person and in every event” (cf. Preface I of Advent), consoling us with his mercy and sustaining us with his love. If there has been a relevant event in recent times, it has been precisely the pandemic, which, along with so many painful aspects, has exposed something that we have perceived for a long time, but that had not been manifested so openly: that many of our communities age , the number of its members decreases, they lose vitality and it is not easy to bring about a generational change. But, in this situation, the Lord continues to call people from all walks of life to welcome them into his discipleship and send them on mission.
You can read the full pastoral letter here: