The Confraria do Bom Jesus do Monte opened yesterday the works of “Bom Jesus: Requalificar II” a project, co-financed by Norte 2020 within the scope of the European Union’s structural funds, which included restoration and recovery work in various places of the Sanctuary, such as the Basilica, staircases, chapels, among others.
With this project, monuments, dozens of sculptures and paintings on canvas were recovered, thousands of books were inventoried and thousands of trees were planted.
The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who attended the inauguration, paid a visit to the interior of the Basilica and unveiled the commemorative plaque for the inauguration of the works.
On the night, the inscription of the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte was celebrated on the World Heritage List, honoring all those who contributed to the success of the candidacy.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa considered that the words joy, gratitude, emotion and responsibility mark the moment of classification as World Heritage.
He recalled the long dawn of July 6 and 7, in which a decision that was being prepared and which culminated in a process of many years was “attentively awaited”.
«We share the anguish of waiting and in the end the joy of the arrival of the good news. It was a double joy in relation to the Mafra Basilica and surrounding reality. In Braga, a heritage full of history of monumentality and spirituality was recognized ”, said the President.
The President highlighted the gratitude for the protagonists of the final phase of the process that culminated in the decision of 7 July, such as D. Jorge Ortiga, Confraria do Bom Jesus do Monte in the preparation of the candidacy, the “essential” role of diplomacy and the City Council of Braga.
«It was an emotion for those who fought and believed in these two causes. It is an exciting moment », said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
According to the President, responsibility now begins with a “new historic phase”.
«UNESCO’s recognition comes full of obligations to care for the monumental, environmental and surrounding heritage, with care to the smallest detail. From now on, we are dealing with universal heritage. With openness to others, the opposite of xenophobia, of closing. That is respect. This is not the heritage of a culture, it is not the heritage of a civilization, the heritage of a religion, it is more than that. It must be a happiness for everyone and for humanity. It was worth fighting for this moment, but now a new challenge begins. Be up to the recognition of UNESCO », said President Marcelo.
Archbishop Primate, D. Jorge Ortiga, said that many worked for the cause of the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus.
«Some have made a convinced effort to classify the resort and Sanctuary as a World Heritage Site. They all leave indelible marks of community service », declared D. Jorge Ortiga.
The prelate recalled that the work is not finished and that the responsibility that has been assumed before humanity “is great”.
«We are not going to fall asleep in the shadow of the goals achieved. We know that we won a battle but to be a World Heritage Site will be a responsibility for the future ”, he reiterated.
The President of the Confraria do Bom Jesus, Fr. Adelino Costa, highlighted the commitment of all those who have worked for many years and leave their efforts and dedication to Bom Jesus. P. Adelino Costa said that the Bom Jesus Sanctuary has made several investments “using self- financing, financing from the Archdiocese of Braga, as well as generous state contributions”.
The president believes that, with the collaboration and help, it will become «a Shrine for all and for all».
The secretary of the Confraria do Bom Jesus do Monte and director of the “Bom Jesus: Requalificar 2” Project, Varico Pereira, said that, as the work is not finished, the “Bom Jesus Requalificar III” is already being designed.
“We count on the support of the Portuguese state and the European Union, to continue this work”, declared the official.
Varico Pereira said that the inscription of the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte on the World Heritage List was the result of a work that counted on many people for several years and thanked everyone involved, ending with a special thanks to the Archdiocese of Braga and to Archbishop D. Jorge Ortiga «for always believing».
The Mayor of Braga, Ricardo Rio, in his speech, confessed that this is a moment “of great pride and great joy”.
«We have seen a decades-long ambition come true. We consider Bom Jesus to be a unique jewel not only for the city, the region, the country, but truly for the whole world, ”he said.
Ricardo Rio praised the quality of the work developed by all those who contributed to the realization of a dream.
«From now on, we have to continue to develop the effort, many times even greater than the one that took us here, to guarantee the valorization of the heritage, its safeguard, and its enjoyment»,concluded the Mayor of Braga.
During the ceremony, he received the highest award from the Confraria do Bom Jesus, as Honorary Brothers, Archbishop Primate, D. Jorge Ortiga, the Portuguese ambassador to UNESCO, Sampaio da Nóvoa, the president of the National Commission of UNESCO, Moraes Cabral, the general coordinator of the candidacy, Varico Pereira, the scientific coordinators of the candidacy, Teresa Andresen and Teresa Marques, the member of the commission of honor of the candidacy, Luís Braga da Cruz, the president of the Confraria do Bom Jesus P. Adelino Costa, the rector of the Sanctuary do Bom Jesus, Canon Manuel Tinoco and the Confraria Mário Paulo Pereira and Abel Barroso.
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa also received a reminder in recognition of his support throughout the process.
The Confraria do Bom Jesus thanked the effort, dedication and love for Bom Jesus, which the current 38 workers provide with their work and awarded a medal of recognition.