September 10 marks the 50th Anniversary of the arrival of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Peru. The celebrations have already begun in Lima, the capital, which is the present epicenter of the work of Holy Cross in the country.
On August 12 -16, the Congregation's District of Peru hosted a five-day conference on the "Theology of the Cross" at the Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., Center. It also began a monthly series of talks on the spirituality, history, and charism of Holy Cross.
On the actual anniversary, September 10, the Congregation will host a luncheon. In attendance will be members of Holy Cross from across Latin America as well as key collaborators of its work in Peru.
At the luncheon, Rev. Thomas J. O'Hara, C.S.C., Provincial Superior of the United States Province will offer words of gratitude for the 50 years of ministry to the Church and people of Peru. The District of Peru comes under the jurisdiction of the United States Province. A Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated that evening in one of the chapels of Lord of Hope Parish, which is a sprawling parish of over 200,000 people served by the Congregation.
On September 15, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Patroness of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Most Rev. Norberto Strotmann, Bishop of the Diocese of Chosica, will preside at a special Mass of Thanksgiving. That Mass will begin at 11 a.m. and be held at the local Fe y Algería school. Preceding the Mass, there will be a procession with Our Lady of Hope, the parish's patroness, from Holy Cross chapel to the school. That chapel will have served as the site of a Vigil of Thanksgiving the night before, September 14. Also participating in these events will be Rev. Richard V. Warner, C.S.C., the Superior General of the Congregation.
“Holy Cross has served apostolically several different communities in Peru over these 50 years, including in the north, in the central parts, and in the far south," said Rev. James McDonald, C.S.C., Assistant Provincial of the United States Province. "One constant has been the devotion and love of the poor, most recently in the urban poverties that surround the capital, Lima.
"Another constant, of course, has been the devotion and love for the poor shown by so many members of Holy Cross. As so often when members of Holy Cross bring their talents and skills to the apostolate, their labors are innovative and forward-thinking, and loved by the people we serve. That is true in Peru, as well."
The first members of the Congregation arrived in Peru on September 10, 1963, in response to the call of Blessed John XXIII to send more missionaries to Latin America. They went to a sugar hacienda on the coast, named Cartavio, to minister to the field hands and factory workers there.
Today, the work of Holy Cross in Peru centers on Lord of Hope Parish in Canto Grande, a suburb of Lima. The Congregation has developed a wide array of innovative ministries and programs to better serve the complex and diverse needs facing the urban poor within the parish.