Peru - New impetus given to Cause of Holiness of Venerable Octavio Ortiz Arrieta

14 October 2022

(ANS - Chachapoyas) - Last Oct. 3, at the Cathedral of Chachapoyas, in the Peruvian region of Amazonas, a new impetus was given to the Cause of Holiness of Bishop Octavio Ortiz Arrieta, a Salesian who was bishop of that diocese between 1922 and 1958.

Before hundreds of parishioners, Bishop Humberto Tapia Díaz of Chachapoyas presented the new prayer for the Cause of Holiness, the official photograph, and the first sculptural portrait of the Venerable. The date was auspicious as it marked the centenary of his episcopal ordination and the 19th anniversary of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints' decree approving the diocesan inquiry. On this occasion, a solemn Eucharist was celebrated in the Cathedral, followed by the protocol ceremony for the promotion of the Cause.

The ceremony was attended by Fr. Humberto Chávez, Vicar of the PER Province, and David Franco, historian of the Salesian Province of Peru, who came to Chachapoyas representing the Salesian Family. The ceremony was also broadcast live on the networks of the Bishopric and the Salesians of Peru.

Earlier, the delegation visited the bishop's see and the diocesan archives. With the guidance of Fr. Juan Rimachi and researcher Alejandro Alvarado, it was possible to locate the missing documentation of the diocesan process in the Salesian Historical Archives of Peru. Msgr. Tapia Díaz authorized its reproduction, which will allow the documentation on the Cause to be completed.

The bust of Msgr. Ortiz, made in Lima by Peruvian sculptor Raúl Franco, was presented by the Salesians of Peru to the Bishopric of Chachapoyas as a symbol of the new impetus given to the Cause of Holiness of the first Peruvian Salesian priest and the first member of the Society of St. Francis de Sales to be ordained bishop in Peru.

Octavio Ortiz Arrieta, born in Lima, Peru, on April 19, 1878, and died in Chachapoyas, Peru, on March 1, 1958, was the first Peruvian Salesian and bishop of Chachapoyas for 37 years.

He was born in Lima on April 19, 1878. In December 1893 he entered the vocational school opened by the Salesians for the neediest boys as a carpentry student, then passed among the students. He made his novitiate year in Callao and in 1902 made his perpetual vows in the hands of Fr. Paolo Albera, extraordinary visitor. He continued in the same house as assistant, teacher, student of philosophy, and then of theology. In 1906 he was sent to found a new vocational school in the city of Piura. On January 27, 1907, he was ordained a priest. After the Piura work, Fr. Ortiz was called to direct the works in Cuzco and Callao. Here, while he devoted himself to work with young people, on Nov. 21, 1921, he was appointed as bishop of the distant diocese of Chachapoyas, on the northern Andean Cordillera. He was ordained bishop in the Temple of Mary Help of Christians in Lima on June 11, 1922. The town of Chachapoyas stands at an altitude of 2,300 meters, while the diocese then comprised a territory of 95,200 km2 and a population of 250,000 souls.

His life was a continuous journey: for long days on horseback, on foot, in the Cordillera, in the forests, on the rivers. He climbed to icy peaks and then descended into torrid valleys. From the beginning, he organized Missions and Spiritual Exercises for people and priests. He extended this intense program, which varied from year to year, to all the centers of his diocese. Catechesis and preaching, care of priests and seminarians, promotion of vocations were the simple and concrete work of all his 37 years of the episcopate. He always preserved the Salesian style: amiable, welcoming, habitually cheerful, close to the people. He was a born organizer: he carried out eight Pastoral Visits; celebrated three diocesan Synods and organized a successful Eucharistic Congress; reorganized parish archives; created Associations and Confraternities; and published a newspaper. When the archiepiscopal see of Lima remained vacant, the Apostolic Nuncio on behalf of the Pope offered it to him. Monsignor Ortiz thanked and declined the proposal, saying he had "married" his diocese, and wanted to remain among the people of his pueblos until his death. He died in Chachapoyas on March 1, 1958, at the age of 79. On February 27, 2017, Pope Francis declared him Venerable.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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