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Isidro Alonso, of the Santa María School of Montevideo

28/02/2017: Uruguay

It is not common that the morning mail surprises you with a news story like this one. Camilo B. Techera got in touch with the communications director to bear good news on Feb. 23.

“Dear friends,” he writes. “I am a former student of the Santa María School of Montevideo. I am sending you with great joy the recent news: Cardinal Sturla, Archbishop of Montevideo, has affirmed that a further step has been taken in Rome in the canonization process of Father Isidro Alonso, a Salesian priest and ex-student of the Marist School Santa María. From now on “Cacho,” as he was usually called, can be venerated as a SERVANT OF GOD.

Fr Alonso was a Salesian priest that in his last years of life he spent as part of the diocesan clergy to take on, with the support of the then Archbishop of Montevideo Carlos Partelli, a radical preferential option for the poor. 

“That option led him to live many years in a tin barrack in Aparaicio Saravia and in Timbúes, while a neighborhood of ‘white houses’ was being built with mutual help. They replaced many of the barracks similar to the one in which Fr Cacho lived in out of choice,” wrote the Bishop of Melo, Bishop Heriberto Bodeant, in his blog when he presented the book “Cacho de Dios” in 2012, written by Julio Romero, a neighbourhood resident.

When Fr Alonso died, the collectors of the neighborhood, who made their living collecting recyclable material, carried his coffin through the neighborhood in one of their carts as a tribute of gratitude.

The Brothers and the students of the Santa María School collaborated frequently with Fr Alonso. After the General Chapter in 1985, some of the Brothers went to work in Marist works of Uruguay including Brothers Arturo Chávez, Javier Puente and Xavier Bometón. 

These Brothers, who actively participated in coordinating the ministry of the school with the youth from Remar, they went to work with Fr Cacho, in the neighbourhood where he carried out his priestly service when he was already part of the diocesan clergy.

Brother Quirino Calvo, at the request of Camilo B. Techera, has verified in the archives that Fr Isidro Alonso and his brother were in the school until at least 1941.

For more details, visit the website of the Archdiocese of Montevideo.

Br Antonio Estaún - Procurator general

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