“Everything always came from the heart”
District Apostle Pablo Alfredo Bianchi from Argentina would have turned 100 years old this 24th of January. From the very first time he ever set foot into a New Apostolic congregation, the rector thought of him as a gift from heaven.
“These five souls have been sent to us from heaven,” said the rector of Boca when the 19-year-old Pablo Alfredo Bianchi walked through the door of the church with his fiancée, his mother, and his two sisters. This occurred on 1 January 1943, when the congregation of Boca was still in its founding phase. At that point in time, no one yet had any idea about what God had in mind for this young man.
Lauded as a caring minister
It did not take long for Pablo Bianchi and his fiancée to feel at home in the congregation. They were adopted and sealed soon after their arrival. Already in September of the following year, he took on the Deacon ministry in the young congregation. In 1946 he became a Priest, and starting in 1947, he served as the rector of Boca. As the congregational chronicles relate, he was a very sensitive and caring minister. For over ten years he cared for each and every individual soul, helped many people, and shared their joys and tears with them. In June 1957 he was ordained a District Elder and thus entrusted with further duties—but whenever he came back to visit Boca, the members there would still always refer to him as their Priest, just as if time had stood still. Everyone has fond memories of his pastoral involvement in the life of his fellow believers.
In December 1957 District Apostle Aureliano Andrés Cesar Martón ordained him a Bishop—at the request of the then Chief Apostle Johann Gottfried Bischoff, it was said. This made him the ideal assistant for the Apostle. Entire generations of children received the blessing on their confirmation out of his hands, including some later ministers and Apostles.
Treasured as an Apostle
It always seemed to be in the month of June that interesting things would come to pass in the life of Pablo Alfredo Bianchi. In June 1966 he was called to Zurich, where Chief Apostle Walter Schmidt ordained him as an Apostle, and from then on he served as an active support in all decisions made by his District Apostle, whom he admired.
The New Apostolic Church in South America had grown immensely in the meantime. Many believers were added to the growing congregations, and several new congregations were established. As the chronicles confirm, Apostle Bianchi’s gentle activism, overflowing love, and deep zeal proved a great attraction for many.
A death changes everything
Things could have carried on like this forever, but then the moment came when the Apostle had to part with his District Apostle: District Apostle Martón died on 5 December 1977. Surrounded by thousands of grieving members, Apostle Bianchi conducted the District Apostle’s funeral in the central church on Avenida Caseros in Buenos Aires. And his ordination to the District Apostle ministry followed on the heels of this event: on 11 December 1977 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, Chief Apostle Ernst Streckeisen entrusted him with the leadership of the District Apostle area of Argentina—a task that he would carry out with his extraordinary characteristics and qualities for the next fifteen years.
In that same divine service, the Chief Apostle ordained the then District Elder Mario Fiore an Apostle—which also proved to be a wise step later in the future.
A life of commitment and dedication
Pablo Alfredo Bianchi served in various ministerial capacities for a total of 48 years, 26 of them in the Apostle ministry and fifteen years as a District Apostle. But the time came when even he had to retire. It was on 12 April 1992 that the District Apostle was given a dignified and honourable discharge from ministry in a divine service conducted by Chief Apostle Richard Fehr. The latter described him as “an Apostle with seven hearts, because everything always came from the heart”.
In 1995 the retired District Apostle Bianchi and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. District Apostle Mario Fiore dispensed the blessing on this occasion and emphasised that Sister María Bianchi had always been a great support during all the years of her husband’s ministerial activity. He described her as a pillar of love. Among other things, the District Apostle said the following concerning their matrimonial life: “Like a virtuoso who—to the astonishment of his listeners—conjures up a clean melody from an instrument that is badly out of tune simply by leaving out the poorly tuned strings, so you too always knew how to make the best of everything.”
It was in the early morning of 9 July 1999 that Pablo Alfredo Bianchi passed away. In his obituary, Chief Apostle Fehr wrote: “When all tears are one day turned into pearls, Pablo Bianchi will be wearing a garment of pearls.”