On February 24, the Holy Cross community in Peru gathered to bless two new statues of St. André Bessette.
One of the statues is part of a new oratory dedicated to the first canonized saint of Holy Cross at Yancana Huasy, a ministry that attends to the needs of children and adults who live with physical and mental challenges, including Downs’ Syndrome, and their families. Br. André, with his great love for the sick and marginalized, has been the patron and inspiration of the apostolate since its founding in 1981.
The other statue was installed at the entrance to the medical clinic of El Señor de la Esperanza Parish, which is adjacent to Yancana Huasy. The medical clinic which provides essential medical services to the people of the neighborhood is named for the humble Holy Cross brother who was known for his love for the sick.
The primary inspiration for the new statues came from Mr. Gabriel Fuentes Velasco, C.S.C., who recently professed his Final Vows in Holy Cross on January 15, 2022. During his pastoral year as a seminarian in 2021 served as chaplain at Yancana Huasy.
Working with the pastoral team at Yancana Huasy, Gabriel recognized the need to provide a quiet place for prayer and devotion at both apostolates. There was also a strong desire to help people connect more deeply with Br. André and the spirituality and charism of the Congregation, so as to find a source of healing and strength in their journeys of faith.
“The purpose of [the oratory] is to have a place dedicated to prayer, a place to encounter Brother André as a companion on the journey, a friend, a mediator through whom I can become more aware of my relationship with God, as well as my own weaknesses and my strengths,” said Gabriel.
Making the project a reality was the work of many people, and thus fittingly the blessing ceremony also involved many people. Fr. José Ahumada, C.S.C., Superior of the District of Peru, and Fr. Elmer Caro, C.S.C., Assistant Superior, presided together at the blessing, while many other Holy Cross religious as well as employees from Yancana Huasy and the Medical Clinic had roles during the ceremony, proclaiming readings and offering prayers.
There was a large turnout from both apostolates for the blessing, as well as the local Holy Cross community. Among the religious and lay people present were Mr. José Antonio Patrón Quispe, Director of Yancana Huasy and Fr. José Luis Tineo, C.S.C., Pastor of El Señor de la Esperanza Parish.
It was a beautiful moment to seek the intercession of St. André Bessette for these two important apostolates for Holy Cross in Peru.