February 19 and 20 was a joyful weekend for the Congregation of Holy Cross in Peru and Chile with the beautiful celebrations of Profession of Final Vows and Diaconate Ordination of Jim Marvin Gutiérrez Agurto, C.S.C., in Canto Grande, Peru. For precautionary reasons due to the pandemic, both Masses were held in open air in the Coliseo P. David Farrell, C.S.C., which is part of the Congregation’s school, Fe y Alegría 25.
The celebrations began the night of Friday, February 18, with a candlelight vigil prayer service for Jim in the Peyton Center, presided by Fr. John Phalen, C.S.C., who was Jim´s Novice Master. Fr. Aníbal Niño, C.S.C., Director of the Instituto para la Familia (INFAM), served as the cantor, leading Jim’s family and the Holy Cross sisters, brothers, and priests present in beautiful psalms, canticles, and hymns.
The Mass of Profession of Perpetual Vows was Saturday afternoon. Fr. José Ahumada, C.S.C., Superior of the District of Chile-Peru, presided and received the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience of Jim. He also presented to Jim the crucifix that presents his Final Profession as a member of the Priest’s Society in Holy Cross.
Fr. Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C., Director of Formation for the District, preached the homily, which focused on the friendship that Jesus offers his disciples. He commended Jim for having persevered in cultivating this close, personal friendship with Jesus, that he now “seals” with his Final Profession, asking for the “grace to remain united forever.”
"Having received this gift of friendship, you and I, and all of us consecrated in religious life are called to be prophets of friendship offered by God," continued Fr. Gawrych. “Perhaps there is no more urgent pastoral need today, especially for the new generations—who are increasingly connected but feel more alone, who increasingly express tolerance for everyone but trust in almost no one—than to communicate to them that the living God really wants to be friends with them. Not friends from a click on the Internet, but these friends who in a living and incarnate way share the concrete steps of life and the bread on the table, thus cultivating the love that remains.”
Speaking directly to Jim, Fr. Gawrych said: “On this path, you will never be alone: without a doubt, and more importantly, you have the friendship, love and presence of Jesus. But you also have the friendship, love and presence of us, your brothers and sisters in Santa Cruz.”
Sunday afternoon was the Mass of Ordination to the Diaconate. The Most Rev. Jorge Izaguirre, C.S.C., Bishop of the Prelatura of Chuquibamba, presided at the Mass. He replaced the Most Rev. Arthur Colgan, C.S.C., who was unable to preside due to the death of his sister in the United States.
Following the Masses, many of the guests hung around the Coliseo to celebrate, converse, and take pictures with Jim and the community. Both days there was a festive meal for the family and the community in the Peyton Center.
Among others who joined in the celebration was Deacon Rivaldo Oliviera, C.S.C., who overlapped with Jim in the House of Formation in Santiago, Chile, and was ordained on December 17, 2021. He represented the District of Brazil and served as a deacon in both Masses. In addition to Fr. Gawrych, Fr. Rodrigo Valenzuela, C.S.C., Director de Mission Effectiveness at St. Geroge’s College, came to represent Holy Cross in Chile.
Jim entered the Novitiate in Huaycán, Peru, on January 7, 2016, and he professed his First Vows one year later on January 6, 2017. From there, he went to the Holy Cross House of Formation in Santiago, Chile, where he lived three and a half years. As part of his formation, he served in a local hospital, San Roque Parish, and the Campus Ministry at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. It is from that same university that Jim graduated with a Licenciatura in Theology in 2020.
Following his graduation, Jim returned to Peru and completed a pastoral year, serving in Vocations Ministry and the Pastoral Institute of the Family (INFAM), which is a part of Holy Cross Family Ministries. Then he spent a semester studying English and living in Moreau Seminary in Notre Dame, Indiana, in the United States.
For his deacon placement, Jim will serve as the Director of Campus Ministry at Fe y Alegría 25 School. He will also assist at El Señor de la Esperanza Parish.