On Saturday, December 12, 2015, on the feast of Our Lady of Gaudalupe, Fr. Arthur J. Colgan, C.S.C., was ordained a bishop in a beautiful Mass held in San Andrés de Huaycán Cathedral in Chosica, Perú. Bishop Colgan will serve as the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Chosica, which is under the leadership of the Most. Rev. Norberto Strotmann, M.S.C.
Bishop Strotmann was the celebrant of the Mass and the principal consecrator. The principal co-consecrators were the Most Rev. Jorge Izaguirre, C.S.C., Bishop Prelate of the Territorial Prelature of Chuquibamba, Perú, and the Most Rev. Luis Amrando Bambarén G., S.J., Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Chimbote, Perú.
Bishop Colgan was also accompanied in the Ordination Mass by over two dozen Holy Cross religious priests, brothers, and sisters, including Fr. Richard V. Warner, C.S.C., Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross; Fr. Roy Thalackan, C.S.C., Second Assistant of the Congregation of Holy Cross; Fr. Thomas J. O'Hara, C.S.C., Superior of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers; and Fr. José Ahumada, C.S.C., Superior of the District of Perú and the District of Chile.
Following the Mass of Ordination, Bishop Colgan greeted the many faithful who came to participate in his Ordination and who know him from his many years of faithful service as the Vicar General of the diocese. Afterward, there was a celebratory lunch attended by members of the diocese, Holy Cross religious, and other invited guests.
“This is not only a moment of grace in Bishop Arturo's life, but it is a moment of advent hope for the Peruvian Church, and it is a tribute to Holy Cross's preferential option for the poor in the concrete example of a shepherd who knows his sheep and walks with them,” said Fr. Richard Wilkinson, C.S.C., Vicar of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers. “It was a celebratory recognition of [Bishop Artuto’s] more than 40 years of service to and with the people of Peru.”
In the days leading up to his Ordination, Bishop Colgan reflected on his hopes for his service to the Church as a bishop: “I trust that I will continue to be close to the people that I serve, listening to their experience, their questions, their hopes, sharing their reality. I hope to be a good shepherd and pastor to the people, leading them on the journey of faith especially by example. I hope to continue contributing to the building up of the Church of Chosica as a community of faith, of worship and service, collaborating closely with our Pastor Norberto.
“As a priest I have tried to contribute to the formation of lay men and women and to animating their active role in the Church's mission of Evangelization. As a Bishop, I hope to continue doing so. In my ministry I hope to make visible and real the Church's preferential option for the poor,” he said.
Bishop Colgan believes that his over four decades of religious life and pastoral ministry in the Congregation of Holy Cross have helped prepare him for his service in Diocese of Chosica as its auxiliary bishop.
“Holy Cross has taught me that we are at the service of the local Church (our history as auxiliary priests) and to value our insertion in the pastoral plans and mission of the local diocese,” he said. “In Holy Cross I have learned of the importance of our relationship with lay colleagues who share in our mission and in our institutions – not only a work relationship, but also bonds of friendship, support and affection.
“My experience in Holy Cross has been one of a group of men with missionary zeal, seeking to bring the Good News of the Gospel to all, but especially to young people, to families, to those in need. All of this has prepared me to serve well as a Bishop in the Church.”
The new bishop also believes the Holy Cross community will continue to be a strong support for him in his ministry helping shepherd the Diocese of Chosica. The day before his Ordination, Bishop Colgan gathered with members of the Holy Cross community for Vespers in the Holy Cross House of Formation in Canto Grande, Perú. During the prayer, the Holy Cross community gifted him with the symbols of his new office: a pectoral cross, miter, and episcopal ring.
“In Holy Cross I have learned the importance of a community of brothers dedicated to the mission of Christ,” explained Bishop Colgan. “I have been strengthened, consoled, challenged and nourished by this brotherhood. I trust that even as my situation changes I can continue to share in that brotherhood of Holy Cross.”
For his episcopal motto, Bishop Colgan chose a phrase that is well-known to all the priests, brothers, and sisters of Holy Cross, as well as all of the Congregation’s friends, students, parishioners, and collaborators. It comes from the writings of the Congregation’s founder, Blessed Basile Moreau, who wrote about the zeal of “making God known, loved, and served” – “para que Dios sea conocido, amado, y servido.”
“I have always valued the insight and profoundness of these words of our Founder, Father Moreau, expressing so succinctly and so well what we are about as ministers in the Church,” explained Bishop Colgan. “It seemed appropriate to take these words for my episcopal motto, affirming my connection with Holy Cross, and my desire that through my ministry as a Bishop God might be ‘known, loved and served.’”
Since his Final Profession on August 11, 1971, and his Ordination to the Presbyterate on October 27, 1973, Bishop Colgan has spent most of his religious life in Holy Cross serving in Peru. In addition to working as pastor at both Holy Cross Parish in Chimbote and Lord of Hope Parish in Canto Grande, he has served in various leadership and administrative capacities in the Church in Peru, including Vicar General of the Diocese of Chimbote, Episcopal Vicar of the Archdiocese of Lima, Theological Advisor to the Bishop's Commission on Social Action, and two stints as Vicar General in Chosica.
Bishop Colgan has also been elected by his brothers in Holy Cross to leadership positions in the Congregation. He served nine years as the Superior of the District of Peru and then nine years as the Superior of the Eastern Province of Priests and Brothers (which merged with the Indiana Province to form the current United States Province).
Bishop Colgan was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Chosica on October 13, 2015. He is the second Holy Cross priest chosen by Pope Francis this year to serve as a bishop in Perú. The first was Bishop Jorge Izaguirre, C.S.C., who was appointed Bishop Prelate of the Chuquibamba, Peru, on May 11, 2015. He was ordained on July 10, 2015, outside San Miguel Cathedral in Camaná, Peru. The principal consecrator in Bishop Izaguirre’s Ordination was also Bishop Strotmann.