A small and moving ceremony took place in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires, Friday, February 28, 2003, to observe the 5th Anniversary of the death of the former Primate, Cardinal of Argentina, Antonio Quarracino.
They recalled the one who, on April l4, l997, inaugurated the Commemorative Mural to the Holocaust victims, and to those killed in the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA attacks: the only memorial in all the world with those characteristics located within a Christian temple.
The gathering took place next to the grave of the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, in the Chapel of the Virgin of Lujan, beside the one where the mural is located.
As the Secretary of State of the Vatican, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, indicated on his last visit to Argentina, ‘It is a symbol of reconciliation without precedent in the history of the Christian-Jewish relations’.
Those who participated were: The Pope’s representative in Argentina, Monsignor Santos Abril y Castello; Rabbi Simon Moguilevsky and Israel Faerman of the IRWF; Miriam Kesler and Laszlo Ladanyi, Holocaust survivors; AMIA vice president, Mrs. Susana Lerner; and the Founder of the Wallenberg Foundation, Baruch Tenembaum.
Engineer Oscar Vicente, Vice President of the IRWF, remembered Quarracino in an moving speech. Then, Mrs. Kesler, donator of the cover of the Passover Haggadah (prayer book of the Jewish Easter) included in the mural, and Rabbi Moguilevsky spoke.
In a posthumous letter of December 1997 addressed to Tenembaum, Cardinal Quarracino pointed out:
‘Soon it will be the first anniversary since the unveiling of this deserving ‘Monument’ before which I asked Jews to be invited if they wish to cover their heads out of respect. The exact place of the mural will be connected to the peace and rest that I await within the cathedral, to continue proclaiming brotherhood as I have done all my life’.
Words from Engineer Oscar Vicente
Vice President of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. February 28, 2003 Fifth Anniversary of the Death of Cardinal Antonio Quarracino
Shortly before his death on February 28, l998, only ten months after having inaugurated the Mural that remembers the victims of the Holocaust, Monsignor Quarracino, in a posthumous letter, expressed his desire to rest eternally together with this symbol of the only reconciliation in the world.
Today, we wish to remember the former Primate in a single but moving ceremony, quoting his own words.
When he dedicated the Mural on April l4, l997, Cardinal Quarracino said:
”This Mural is a reminder for all Catholics that the roots of their faith were sown in the Land of Israel, where the Prophets and Jesus had preached.”
Harmony between religions is an important and vital commitment in the world in which we live. It is the path that will lead us to the understanding and acceptance of our similarities as well as differences. Cardinal Quarracino was convinced of the necessity for promoting reconciliation as the premise for accomplishing peace, and acted accordingly.
There were deeds, not only words.
Today, we again say: Thank you, Antonio!