The Congregation of Holy Cross in Chile has recently received three new candidates to its formation program. Today, from the Southern Hemisphere, we are share their stories with you.
Gabriel Adrián Fuentes Velasco
Gabriel is the fourth of seven siblings. His family is from Santiago and participates in the life of their local parish. Gabriel came to know Holy Cross through his brother Pedro, now deceased, who was also a candidate in the Congregation.
In reflecting on religious life, Gabriel said, “When you start thinking about the project of following Christ, you feel the need to be with Him, to take part in His life and mission. It is Christ who begins to fill your life completely, so much so that my eyes, my thoughts and my whole being become filled with Him.”
When asked what message he would give young people, Gabriel responded, “When Christ enters your heart, nothing else is needed, all is there. With His loving strength, He comes into your life. This may seem like madness in the times we live in, but I tell young people to open their hearts to Christ, without fear, to take a step to discover Him and meet Him. Christ needs you and calls you by your name.”
Andrés Antonio Ramírez Espinoza
Andrés was born in the city of Cali, Colombia, in a Catholic family. Like many young man, though, Andrés was attracted to the typical pastimes of his peers. Yet when he came to learn about Cursillos through some friends, he realized he wanted a closer commitment to the Church. His pastor asked him to prepare himself to become a catechist for First Communion.
At 19, Andrés left his home and went to work to the capital of Colombia, where he worked as a public transportation driver and in the education of youth in social risk. He remained in Bogota until he learned about Holy Cross through the web page of the Congregation in Chile.
When asked why he left Columbia to join Holy Cross in Chile, Andrés replied, “It was Holy Cross in Chile where somehow God opened me to a vocational horizon. Ever since I came to know this Congregation through the internet, I was excited by its apostolates and spirituality. When I contacted Holy Cross in my first visit to Chile, I found a welcoming and hospitable community, with a very concrete mission. I have lived beautiful moments with Holy Cross, with its style of life and spirituality.”
In addressing others discerning a vocation with Holy Cross, Andrés said, “One has to dare to begin one of the best experiences you can have. You will come to know about the good fruit the Church has to offer the world in the person of Blessed Basil Moreau and Saint André Bessette. Do not be afraid of drawing close to Jesus Christ.”
Iván Alejandro Rodríguez Silva
Iván comes from the community of Calle Larga, where Holy Cross administrates the parish of Our Lady of Mercy. He is an only child and his parents formed him in the values and teaching of the Gospel.
Iván recounted, “Since I was a child, I have always admired religious who offer their lives for their neighbor, for the suffering and the needy. This made a strong impact in my life.”
When reflecting on how he entered religious life, Iván said, “I asked myself, what would happen if I became a religious? These questions came up more intensely when I heard Jesus’ invitation to follow His footsteps in the gospels. It is an invitation to follow Him and leave behind all that we love, all that we have and have been, allow Him to transform us in new men and be able to communicate words of hope and peace to the suffering or the needy.”
Having found joy and hope since joining Holy Cross, Ivan encouraged other young people to take a similar leap of faith with Christ. “If you are happy with your life but feel something is missing … if you feel oppressed by the suffering of your brothers and sisters and hunger for justice … if you are anxious to give of yourself without receiving anything in return … and if on listening to the words of Christ, you find faith and hope in your life, it is the time to realize that Christ invites you to be a part of His joy and happiness in the building up of the kingdom.”