Chile was the Cincinnati Province’s first mission. Founded in 1947 by our first North American Missionaries there, Fr. John Wilson and Fr. John Kostik, Chile has since grown from a small mission to a vicariate of the C.PP.S. The last U.S.-born Missionary, Fr. Donald Thieman, C.PP.S., returned to the United States in 2012, and the ministry of the Chilean Vicariate is now carried out solely by Chilean-born members.
The Missionaries minister in the capital city of Santiago and in the southern cities of Valdivia, and Purranque.
To view a pictorial history of Chile, click here.
Santiago is the nation’s capital and largest city. Together with the Sisters of the Precious Blood, the Missionaries minister in Nuestra Señora de la Preciosa Sangre (Our Lady of the Precious Blood) parish, which covers four regions of economically-challenged areas of the city. “It is a challenge to offer pastoral care to so many,” said Fr. Humberto Jaña, C.PP.S., the pastor. The parish staff relies on the help of trained lay catechists to help nurture the faith life of the people.
Also in Santiago, the Missionaries minister at Sain Gaspar College, which they founded in 1954. (While it is called a college, it is similar to a parochial school in the U.S. and educates children from pre-school through high school.)
SaintGaspar College has a national reputation for excellence in Chile. Students are educated with an eye for mission: they know that whatever gifts they are given are meant to be shared among God’s people. “Service is essential to the students at Saint Gaspar,” said Fr. Antonio Baus, C.PP.S., former school principal and an alumnus. Every year, the school takes its students on a mission trip to remote villages in the Chilean Andes.
“Our students come from well-to-do families. They will go on to the university and probably grow up to lead the country. They have to be exposed to another side of life, so that they will have a heart for ministry and service when they become leaders,” says Fr. Baus, C.PP.S.
Valdivia and Purranque are located in Southern Chile, and as in Santiago, these rural parishes cover a lot of territory and minister to many people. Pastors spend many hours driving through the mountains from one small chapel to another. In places where there are no chapels, the pastors preside at Mass in homes or public halls.
Fr. Jorge Gómez, C.PP.S., who is the associate pastor in Parranque, knows that he is in the right place. “God gave me this calling, and he continues to look after me. It’s central in my life,” Fr. Gómez said. “It’s gratifying to me to be present to sick people, old people, the people who need me.”