Vatican – Msgr. Octavio Ortiz Arrieta on the way towards Venerability

15 February 2017

(ANS – Vatican City) – On February 14th, 2017, in the ordinary Session of Cardinals and Bishops members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, a positive opinion was expressed with regard to the fame of sanctity and the practice of heroic virtues of the Servant of God Octavio Ortiz Arrieta, born in Lima (Peru) on April 19th, 1878 and died in Chachapoyas (Peru), on March 1st, 1958, the first Salesian from Peru and bishop of Chachapoyas for 37 years.

He was born in Lima on April 19th, 1878. In December 1893 he entered the Salesian School for the poorest as a carpentry pupil, and was later admitted among the students. He did his Novitiate in Callao and in 1902 he pronounced his perpetual vows in the hands of Fr. Paolo Albera, Extraordinary Visitor. In 1906 he was sent to found a new vocational school in Piura. He was ordained a priest on January 27th, 1907 and later on he was rector in the houses of Cuzco and Callao.

On November 21st, 1921, he was appointed bishop of the far away diocese of Chachapoyas (in the Northern Cordillera of the Andes), that had been vacant for five years and which comprised a territory of 95,200 km² and a population of 250.000 people. He was ordained a bishop in the Temple of Mary Help of Christians in Lima on June 11th, 1922, but he reached his episcopal see only after one month’s journey. His life was a continuous travelling: by horse, on foot, in the cordillera, in the forests, in the rivers.

He organized Missions and Spiritual Retreats for lay people and priests in all the centres of his diocese. He taught catechism whenever he could, and the youth filled the rooms of his old episcopal house. Catechesis, preaching, care for priests and seminarians, promotion of vocations were a constant concern of his 37 years as a bishop. He was amiable, welcoming, cheerful, close to the people, indeed a born organizer: he did eight pastoral Visitations, celebrated three Diocesan Synods and a Eucharistic Congress; he put in order the parish archives, created Associations and Confraternities; and he published a newspaper.

When the see of the Archdiocese of Lima became vacant, the Apostolic Nuncio, on behalf of the Pope, offered it to him. Msgr. Ortiz thanked and declined the proposal: he wanted to stay among the people of his pueblos unto death that seized him on March 1st, 1958, at the age of 75.


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