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Beatification

Celebration of the Beatification

On April 25, 2004, Alexandrina Maria da Costa was beatified in Rome by the Pope John Paul II.

On the morning of the 25th, St. Peter's Square was filled with the faithful to participate in the celebrations of the beatification of Alexandrina Maria da Costa, Eusébia Palomino Yenes, Salesian Sister of Don Bosco; Nemésia Valle, religious from the Congregation of Charity of St. Joan Antidea Thouret; Father Augusto Czartoryski, Salesian Priest of Don Bosco; Laura Montoya Upegui, founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate and St. Catherine of Siena; and Maria Guadalupe García Zavala, co-founder of the Religious Congregation of the Servants of St. Margarida Maria and the Poor.

Alexandrina was born and grew up and died in Balasar, Vila do Conde/Póvoa de Varzim, archdiocese of Braga. From this date, she became worshiper of the universal Church.

One thousand Portuguese pilgrims attended the celebration and some foreign groups from various places, including Scotland and Ireland.

The Archbishop of Braga, Don Jorge Ortiga participated in the celebration with several members of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference: Don Antonino Dias, Auxiliary Bishop of Braga; Don António Moreira, Bishop of Bragança-Miranda; Don António Marto, Auxiliary Bishop of Braga; Don António Rafael, Bishop Emeritus of Bragança-Miranda; Don Eurico Nogueira, Archbishop Primate Emeritus; Don Gilberto Reis, Bishop of Setúbal; Don Jacinto Botelho, Bishop of Lamego and Don Teodoro de Faria, Bishop of Funchal.

The Archbishop of Vila do Conde/Póvoa de Varzim, Father Domingos Ferreira de Araújo, the Parish Priest of Balasar, Father Francisco Dias de Azevedo - who dedicated himself to the cause of Alexandrina - and Father Joaquim Mendes, Provincial of the Salesian Congregation, attended the ceremony in Portugal

The miraculous Maria Madalena Azevedo Gomes Fonseca, Dr. Juan Sànches-Reyes and Dr. João Fontes - doctors who examined her healing - also attended the Eucharist.

The Portuguese government was represented by Dr. Maria Teresa Gouveia, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities; Dr. Pedro Ribeiro de Manezes, Ambassador of Portugal in the Vatican; Dr. José António de Araújo, Prefect of Braga, and his wife; Dr. Macedo Vieira, Mayor of Póvoa de Varzim, and his wife; and Lino Araújo, President of the Parish Council of Balasar.

Several mass media were in Rome: TVI (Portuguese television channel), "Canção Nova", who cover the live transmission; Renascença Radio, with Aura Miguel; "Diário do Minho", with Álvaro Magalhães; and "Correio da Manhã", with Secundino Cunha.

This was an important day for Portugal and for the Church, and on October 13 they celebrate the liturgical memorial of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa.
 

Source: Coord. of Father Silva Araújo.; "Blessed Alexandrina - The Agony and the Glory".

Rite of Beatification

Brief biography

The Rite of Beatification began with the Kyrie song, followed by a brief biography of each new blessed. Don Jorge Ortiga, Archbishop of Braga read Alexandrina's biography:

«Alexandrina Maria da Costa, said Don Jorge Ortiga, was born on March 30, in Balasar, Portugal. She was a little peasant, full of life, playful and a lovely girl. When Alexandrina was 14, she jumped from a window, falling to the garden to save her threatened purity. Over the time the injuries caused by that fall turns into total paralysis so she remains attached to the bed for more than thirty years, helped by her older sister. She offered herself as a victim to Christ for the conversion of sinners and peace in the world. For four years (1938-1942) she revived the passion of Christ every Fridays for three hours.

She asked Pius XII the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (October 31, 1942). From March 27, 1942, until her death (13 years and 7 months) she did not take any drink or food of any kind, only the daily communion. Guided by her spiritual director, she became a salesian Cooperator, offering her sufferings for the salvation of young people. She died in Balasar on October 13, 1955, where she is buried and a crowd of pilgrims love to go there.

Alexandrina is the example of simplicity and authenticity. This is the living message that Christians of today need, especially those who commit to live, in the value of secularism, a service to the Lord, the Church and society. Many people, even those who believe, have feelings of discouragement, apathy, disinterest, together with the search for substitutes and evasions. The young Alexandrina is an encouragement, a motivation to ennoble - especially for young people - what is painful and sad in life. Her love for the Eucharist and her deep and inside life, reaching the highest levels of mystique, recommends everyone to follow the 'program' of holiness, which is 'Christ himself, knowing, loving and imitating' (NMI No 29).”

The rite ended with the formula of beatification, given by the Holy Father.

 

 

Presentation of the relics

Then, the relics of the new blessed were presented. Alexandrina's relic was her metacarpal bone, presented inside of a silver reliquary, carried by Madalena Fonseca, the miraculous.

By her side, Dr. Juan Sànchez-Reyes, Dr. Irene Azevedo Pina, daughter of Dr. Dias de Azevedo, the assistant physician and a close friend of Alexandrina took a candle and a bouquet.

Then, the prelates and the postulators greeted His Holiness. The postulator of Alexandrina was Henrique Dal Covolo, salesian.

At this point, they opened the six panels with the images of the new blessed, on the walls of St. Peter's Basilica.

 

Homily

Then, the usual liturgy of the Eucharist; in the homily, Pope John Paul II said a few words about each new blessed message, in their official language. Regarding Blessed Alexandrina, he said in Portuguese:

'"Do you love me?" - Jesus asks Simon Peter. He responds: "You know everything, Lord, You know I love you." The life of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa can be summed up in this dialogue of love. Invested and burned by the desire for love, she doesn't want to deny anything to her Saviour: with strong determination, she accepts everything to show how she loves Him. Wife of blood, she mystically revives the passion of Christ and she offers herself as a victim for the sinners, receiving strength from the Eucharist, which becomes the only food she takes during the last thirteen years. Following the example of Blessed Alexandrina of 'suffer, love and repair', Christians can find encouragement and motivation to ennoble everything that is painful and sad in life with the greatest proof of love: sacrificing life for the beloved ones.

 

Universal Prayer

In the prayer of the faithful, one of the intentions was:

"Lord, my God, I cried to You for help and You have healed me." For all those who suffer day after day and experience in their own bodies the passion of Christ, to know how to transform pain into oblation of love for the renewal of hearts and world peace, supported by the example and intercession of Blessed Eusébia Palomino Yenes and Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa."

 

Eucharistic Liturgy

The Mayor of Póvoa de Varzim, Dr. Macedo Vieira, and his wife, Mrs. Aida Maria Campos Ferraz attended the Offertory; they bring a miniature "lancha poveira" (fishing vessel), in silver.

They received communion from the hands of the Holy Father, Sister Rosa Sá Ferreira, from the Congregation of the Divine Providence and Holy Family, who received catechesis from Alexandrina, and Mr. Lino Araújo, President of the Parish Council of Balasar.

 

Rite of Conclusion

Before the final blessing, John Paul II addressed a "cordial greeting to the Portuguese pilgrims, with their Bishops and Authorities, celebrating the beatification of Alexandrina of Balasar. The Immaculate Heart of Mary, he added, to whom she was so devoted, is the door of hope for humanity of our time."

His Holiness gave the final blessing to all the people who happily continued singing and celebrating this unique moment.

Source: Coord. of Father Silva Araújo.; "Blessed Alexandrina - The Agony and the Glory".

Thanksgiving Mass

On the morning of April 26 the group of Portuguese pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Basilica, in order to attend Thanksgiving Mass, celebrated on the altar of the Cathedra.

The Archbishop Primate directed the celebration with eight bishops and 33 presbyters. Besides the six bishops who had participated in the celebration of St. Mary Major, also António Montes Moreira and Teodora de Faria have participated. Custódio Alvim, who was bishop in Mozambique and canon of St. Peter's Basilica since 1974, has participated too.

Father Joaquim Augusto Félix de Carvalho led the celebration and the choir was the same that sang at St. Mary Major, led by Father Manuel Jorge da Silva Gomes. Among others, two songs were performed in honor of Blessed Alexandrina: "Alexandrina Bendita", for offertory, and "Nosso Canto de Louvor" at the end. Arminda Nogueira Amorim proclaimed the Word of God and António José Malta was the psalmist. The intentions of the Universal Prayer were read by Dr. João Manuel Leite Ramalho Fontes.

 

Don Jorge Ortiga focused his homily on the new evangelization, the devotion to the Eucharist and the vocations.

Before, he talked about the intense movement that happened in Balasar the day before, caused by a hundred thousand people. He said:

"Yesterday, we experienced deep emotions. Today, in this remarkable place for all Catholics, we serenely thank God. It will be a strong moment if we make compromises for our life and for the dynamism of our communities." [...]

As a Church we live to evangelize it. Times are adverse and the enemies have guns we cannot imagine. The environment that surrounds us does not make easier the mission of the Church and constantly creates difficulties. [...]

Beatification is a way of perpetuating the memory of the person. From now on, Blessed Alexandrina will be placed on altars as someone we can appeal and, especially, imitate. Her presence should point the way of a centrality of the Eucharist, in communities and people's life. She shows us the altar and the tabernacle as realities to be placed in our experiences. [...]

We came to Rome and we cannot only bring the joy of having participated in a wonderful event. We will have to be messengers of the memory and message of the venerable Alexandrina. Let us remember, always, and communicate, by all means, to other people the ideas that we receive. The Lord allowed us to live a graceful event. The obligation to multiply this grace to friends and acquaintances touches us. Through us, Alexandrina's love for Christ and Mary in suffering can go far."

(Coord. of Father Silva Araújo.; "Blessed Alexandrina - The Agony and the Glory"; pages 39 to 44)

Celebration in Balasar

People from Balasar proudly and joyfully lived the celebration of the beatification of one of their own, on April 25, 2004.

The number of pilgrims amounted to over one hundred thousand, and more than 800 buses were there.

 

The ceremonies were broadcast live on television, inside and outside the parish church. People were really moved and they enthusiastically reacted to the moments of special reference to Blessed Alexandrina and Portugal, in the celebrations in Rome.

 

On April 24, the eve of the beatification of Alexandrina, an Evening Mass was celebrated at 19h00. On Sunday, several Masses were celebrated and at 17:00, a Holy Hour. Father Dário Pedroso, S.J. was responsible for the celebrations.

 

Pilgrims, coming from different parts of the country, flocked to the tomb and the house of Alexandrina.

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september 14
Exaltation of the Holy Cross
October 13 2017
Liturgical Feast of Blessed Alexandrina of Balasar| 62nd anniversary of her death
October 31 2017
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