Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Florida Catholic staff - Florida Catholic
DORAL | Funeral services will take place this Friday, April 16, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church for Archbishop Tulio Manuel Chirivella, emeritus of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, who died April 10, 2021, the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday. He was 88. He had been a priest for 64 years and a bishop for nearly 47.
After falling ill on a visit to Miami and unable to return home due to conditions in Venezuela, he spent several years in the care of Catholic Health Services at St. Anne’s Nursing Center in South Dade.
"You are instruments of God in the last stage of life of Archbishop Tulio Manuel Chirivella Varela," wrote a relative in an email addressed to Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami and Bishop Felipe Estévez of St. Augustine, Florida.
"You are a testimony to the deepest gestures of Christian love," wrote Ilia Rosa Mantilla Buitrago. "Thank you to all the staff of St. Anne's for your care and consideration for our beloved Monsignor ... We family and friends give you our deepest thanks and we ask God for many blessings for you."
Mantilla Buitrago remembered Archbishop Chirivella as "a man of faith, a worker, a fighter, but above all a reconciler," a simple and kind man who "emanated serenity and confidence."
She characterized him as "deeply eucharistic and Marian ... Seeing him with the rosary in his hand was something quite common."
Mantilla Buitrago added that “he could sit at the table with the influential and with the poor, without distinctions or preferences. He dealt with popes and presidents, and also with the peasant, the worker; young people, children, men and women from many places.”
Aside from being dedicated to his priests, he was also concerned about the formation and leadership of the laity.
"He was truly 'a shepherd with the smell of sheep,' as Pope Francis says," wrote Mantilla Buitrago. “He was also a man of commitment and social struggle; he loved his Venezuela and offered up his old age and illness for the freedom of our homeland.”
Archbishop Chirivella was born Nov 14, 1932 in Aguirre, Venezuela, and ordained a priest Nov. 11, 1956 for the Archdiocese of Barquisimeto. He was appointed bishop of Margarita, Venezuela, on April 5, 1974, and ordained a bishop June 9, 1974.
On Oct. 18, 1982, he was named archbishop of Barquisimeto. His installation took place Dec. 11, 1982. He served the archdiocese until his retirement Dec. 22, 2007.
The viewing will take place at Our Lady of Guadalupe on Friday, April 16, from 9 to 10:45 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 11 a.m.. Archbishop Wenski will celebrate the Mass. Burial will follow at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery next door to the church. Our Lady of Guadalupe is located at 11691 N.W. 25 St., Doral.