During the beautiful morning of Saturday, January 15, at a Mass in the gardens of St. George's College, Mr. Gabriel Adrián Fuentes Velasco, C.S.C., professed his Final Vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross. Br. Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., General Vicar and First General Assistant of the Congregation received Gabriel's vows, and Fr. José Ahumada, C.S.C., Superior of the District of Chile-Peru, presided at the Mass and gave the homily.
In addition to Gabriel's family, several friends, and colleagues were present to celebrate his profession of Final Vows. There were also representatives from the Congregation of Holy Cross in Chile and Peru.
"Today was a great day of joy and gratitude, not only for Holy Cross but for the entire Church," said Fr. Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C., Director of Formation for the District of Chile-Peru. "Gabriel is a religious who is as committed to service in solidarity, as he is to the Lord Jesus.
"Already during his initial formation his life has been a living witness to the presence and love of God," continued Fr. Gawrych. "Now, having made his definitive commitment to God and to the Congregation, we trust that, with God's grace, Gabriel will continue to cross borders of all sorts so that God will be known, loved, and served through his life and ministry."
Gabriel sat next to this father, Jorge, and other family members after the opening procession. His mother, Inés, who passed away when Gabriel was a novice, was present from the heavens. Gabriel sat with his family and friends until the Rite of Profession of Vows when he approached the altar and Br. Bednarczyk.
After professing forever the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and receiving the Crucifix which is the symbol of Final Vows in Holy Cross, Br. Bednarczyk said, "Gabriel, I confirm that you are now one of us forever as a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, sharing everything in common with us, now and in the future. Thanks be to God."
Gabriel shared the sign of peace with his family and friends and then was invited to sit with his new family, the Holy Cross priests and brothers, for the rest of the Mass.
Gabriel entered the Novitiate in Huaycán, Peru, on January 7, 2014, professing his First Vows exactly one year later on January 7, 2015. He returned to Chile to the Casa de Formación Santa Cruz, where he continued his initial formation as a religious, including apostolic service in various works of the Congregation and studies in philosophy and theology.
It was service, along with contemplative prayer, that initially awakened in Gabriel the sense of a religious vocation. During his time as a seminarian, Gabriel has served in all of the Holy Cross apostolates in Chile and has also worked in Brazil, Mexico, and Peru. He has worked in parishes and schools; he has served among immigrants and people with disabilities; he has accompanied young people in their Christian formation and families in their life journeys.
"They are the poorest, the impoverished, those who fight for justice, those afflicted for the sake of the kingdom, those who have a pure heart and those who work for peace, who will be your companions on the road of life, your counselors, your supporters," said Fr. Ahumada to Gabriel. "Extend your hand to the poor and to those born with disabilities, as you did this past year at Yancana Huasy. Those who you serve, will, time and time again, bring joy to your life. For in them, you will find the reward that God has prepared for you in heaven."
At the end of January Gabriel will be traveling to the United States and Moreau Seminary to study English for a semester as the next step in his formation.