On Saturday, August 27, for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID pandemic, the Holy Cross community in Chile held its annual lay missionary gathering. This year’s gathering, which was the 14th in the event’s history, was held at Nuestra Señora de Andacollo School. Around 150 people from Holy Cross’s parishes, schools, and social works in Chile attended the gathering, whose purpose is to foster greater collaboration enter lay men and women and Holy Cross religious in service of the Congregation’s mission.
Drawing inspiration from the synodal process in the Church as well as from Blessed Basile Moreau’s vision of modeling Holy Cross after the Holy Family, the theme for this year’s Lay Missionaries Gathering was “Walking as a Family of Families” (Caminando como una Familia de Familias).
After an opening welcome given by Father José Ahumda, C.S.C., Superior of the District of Chile-Perú, and an opening prayer, Father Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C., the current Director of the House of Formation in Chile and new Third General Assistant, gave the keynote talk on “The Vision of Family of Blessed Basile Moreau.”
Afterward, a representative group of the Holy Cross Family—Sister Saturnina Mamani, C.S.C., Brother Anthony Terrones, C.S.C., Father Pedro Parra, C.S.C., Mr. Víctor Cofre, and Ms. Jimena Arrieta—participated in a “family conversation,” sharing their experiences of being part of the Holy Cross Family.
The attendees then gathered in their assigned families—all of which had a Holy Cross religious for its model—to continue sharing their “family stories” in Holy Cross. Each of the families brought together religious and lay people from different apostolates, and of different ages, genders, and ministries.
As part of their time together, the families also reflected on how they understand and articulate the mission of Holy Cross today to walk as a family of families. Those answers, along with the family portraits they took, will be part of a video that speaks of the mission of the Holy Cross Family in the Church and the world of today.
The day concluded with a moving prayer service in Andacollo Parish, which is connected to the school. All then gathered for a delicious lunch prepared by the school’s cafeteria staff.
In the month of September, the District of Chile-Perú will host a gathering for its lay collaborators in Peru, using the same theme.