Announced: April 2, 2000.
Location: Esquina Espana y Brasilia streets, Asuncion, Paraguay; phone: (595) 21-230-035. No clothing rental.
Site: 7 acres including stake center.
Exterior finish: Light gray Asa Branca Brazilian granite.
Temple design: Traditional.
Architect: Eduardo Signorelli.
Project manager: Javier Mendieta.
Contractor: Temple Construction Department, with Gonzalez, Acosta & Wood S.A. as construction managers.
Rooms: Celestial room, two ordinance rooms, two sealing rooms, baptistry.
Total floor area: 10,700 square feet.
Dimensions: 149 feet by 77 feet.
District: 10 stakes and 19 districts in Paraguay and several Argentine provinces.
Groundbreaking, site dedication: Feb. 3, 2001, by Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy.
Dedication: May 19, 2002, by President Gordon B. Hinckley; 4 sessions.
Following is the full text of the dedicatory prayer for the Asuncion Paraguay Temple given by President Gordon B. Hinckley on Sunday, May 19, 2002.
Almighty God, Father of us all, we come unto Thee in prayer as we dedicate Thy holy house this Sabbath day. Hear our prayer and accept of our thanks for Thy marvelous blessings upon us.
We are grateful that this Thy house has been constructed in this nation of Paraguay. Marvelous has been the growth of Thy work in this part of Thy vineyard. We thank Thee for the labors of missionaries who have taught the everlasting gospel. We thank Thee for all who with open hearts and open minds have accepted these teachings and entered the waters of baptism to become members of Thy Church. We thank Thee for the strength and power of Thy work. We are so grateful for the restoration of Thine everlasting gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith. We thank Thee that Thou didst reveal Thyself and Thy Son to the boy Joseph in answer to his prayer offered in faith. We thank Thee for the coming of Moroni with the testament of the Book of Mormon. We thank Thee for the restoration of the priesthood under the hands of John the Baptist, and Peter, James, and John, with special priesthood keys later bestowed by Moses, Elias, and Elijah. We thank Thee that the hearts of the children have turned to their fathers with love and great service in Thy temples throughout the earth.
And now, acting in the authority of Thy divine priesthood and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we dedicate to Thee and to Thy Son this the Asuncin Paraguay Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We pray that Thou wilt accept it and hallow it and consecrate it as Thy holy house, even the House of the Lord.
We thank Thee for the beautiful grounds on which it stands and dedicate these with the vegetation which adorns them. We dedicate the structure from the footings to the figure of Moroni atop the steeple. We dedicate the interior room and features designed to accomplish Thy workthe baptistry, the facilities for the initiatory ordinances, the endowment rooms, the beautiful celestial room, the sealing rooms, and every other facility within this sacred structure. May they never be defiled. May all who look upon this structure regard it as a house of holiness. May all who enter its portals be clean of body and mind and worthy to serve in these sacred precincts. Bless the presidency of the temple and the matron and her assistants, and give them strength and energy to carry forward the work of this Thy house. Bless all who serve with them that a spirit of dedication may pervade all of their activity.
We pray for those who come as patrons that they may be touched by Thy holy Spirit. Let the solemnities of eternity rest upon them as they carry forward Thy work, a part of Thy great plan of happiness designed to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of Thy sons and daughters of all generations.
May this temple stand as a crowning jewel to Thy work in this nation. May Thy Saints throughout the land look to this Thy holy house as a sanctuary to which they may come to make sacred covenants with Thee and partake of the great blessings which Thou hast prepared for Thy faithful children.
We pray for this nation, that its citizens may enjoy the blessings of peace and freedom.
Bless Thy people in all the world. Sustain them, watch over them, increase their faith and their love for Thee.
As we dedicate this temple we also dedicate the adjoining Moroni Chapel and all of its facilities. May all who use it recognize that it is a house of worship, a house of learning, and a house of sociality. May they keep it clean and attractive as a structure dedicated to the accomplishment of Thy work and the fruition of Thy purposes.
Protect both the temple and the chapel from the storms of nature and any defilement from evil and destructive hands.
Both of these sacred structures have been made possible by the tithes of Thy faithful Saints throughout the earth. Bless and prosper them as they walk in obedience to Thy commandments.
Holy Father, how we love Thee! How we love Thy beloved Son! Accept of our love as we consecrate ourselves to the advancement of Thy work, we pray in the sacred name of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, amen.
Edifice a bountiful blessing for Asuncion
ASUNCION, Paraguay Some 220 miles outside of Asuncion in Paraguay's Chaco region live a scattering of about 500 Nivacle Indians who are Latter-day Saints. Some from the capital city call the Nivacle colony "Abudancia," or land of abundance. It's a reference to Nephi's Land of Bountiful and perhaps a dual nod to Chaco's fecund land and the Nivacle members' reposits of faith and love.
For LDS Paraguayans, "Abudancia's" borders now extend to a corner lot near the intersection of España and Brasilia streets not far from downtown Asuncion where a temple stands. The May 19 dedication of the Asuncion Paraguay Temple, they say, means the fullness of the gospel's blessings can now be found inside their own country.
"I've aways prayed for a temple in Paraguay," said Romulo Zorrilla of the Mariano Roca Alonzo Ward, Asuncion Paraguay Stake. "I knew a temple would help us as members become more faithful. It gives us hope."
President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Asuncion Paraguay Temple, the Church's 112th, in four sessions just two days after presiding over the opening of a new temple in Campinas, Brazil. He was joined by President James E. Faust of the First Presidency and Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy and president of South America South Area.
The opening of the Paraguay temple closes a pivotal, even prophetic tome in Church history. The first temple in South America was dedicated just 24 years ago in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Now there is such an edifice in every Spanish-speaking South American nation and four in Brazil. The Paraguayan dedication also marks the end of a remarkable period of temple building throughout Latin America. No additional temples in the region have been announced.
Donning raincoats and smiles, thousands from all corners of Paraguay and several Argentine provinces traveled to the picturesque temple site to participate in the dedication and listen to the counsel of Church leaders. Interest in the new edifice stretched beyond the area's growing Church membership. Several Paraguayan media outlets covered the dedication and the words of President Hinckley and other Church members gleaned during interviews.
The Church in Paraguay is still penning its opening chapters. The first member, Carlos Alberto Rodriguez, was baptized in 1949. A stake did not exist inside the country until 1979. Church growth in Paraguay did not keep pace with much of South America in those early years. Yet that lean period offered refining moments for many now serving as leaders.
Francisco Vitale was studying to be a Catholic priest in 1966 when he learned of the Church and was baptized and became one of the first full-time missionaries called from Paraguay. Public regard for the Church in Paraguay at that time was sometimes low, he recalled.
"It was difficult to be a member; people would come and throw rocks at the building where we met," Brother Vitale said. "Now people respect the Church. For the Paraguayan members, this temple is a miracle."
Abilio and Maria Elena Samaniego remember packing picnics to eat between their Sabbath meetings in the early 1970s. The uniform block meeting schedule had not yet been implemented, so their branch held Sunday school and other meetings in the morning then reconvened in the afternoon for sacrament meeting.
"We brought lunches and sat under the trees to eat because the walk home was about five kilometers," Sister Samaniego said. "We had children so it was hard to walk and we could not afford the bus fare back and forth so we just waited after the morning meetings until sacrament meeting started."
A longtime patriarch, Brother Samaniego now serves as a counselor in the new temple presidency. His wife is an assistant to the temple matron. Those small children who ate their in-between-meeting lunches under trees have grown firm in the faith. A daughter, Myriam Maluff, served as the local temple committee's public affairs director and acted as a valuable liaison between the Church and the local press during the temple building process and dedication.
"The Lord has shown us much love, and I'm grateful," President Samaniego said. "When we heard the news that a temple was to be built in Paraguay we clapped and jumped and hollered. We wanted the Lord to know how happy we were."
Anyone who visits the new temple will be standing on sacred and historic ground. The temple was built on the same site where the nation's first LDS chapel was built in 1964. The original meetinghouse was recently demolished to make room for the temple.
Crecencio Lopez perhaps represents the promise of Paraguay following the May 19 temple dedication. Just 23 years old, Brother Lopez presides over the Nivacle District where testimonies are forged amid challenge. The Nivacle speak an indigenous tongue and are waiting for the Book of Mormon to be translated into their own language. Only six families from the district had been through a temple prior to the dedication of the Asuncion Paraguay Temple. Yet the Nivacle members look to their priesthood leaders such as young President Lopez, who served a Spanish-speaking mission in Paraguay. Now they rejoice in the blessings to be found at the new temple.
"This is a great opportunity for me to participate in a temple dedication and see the prophet," said President Lopez, who traveled to the sessions with a group of fellow Nivacle. "This temple gives us encouragement to be better."