.- On October 29 thousands of young people in Chile are expected to participate in a 16-mile pilgrimage to celebrate the canonization of Father Alberto Hurtado and to close the Year of the Eucharist.
The Pilgrimage of the Andes is in its 15th year and according to the organizers, the purpose of this year’s edition is to deepen the understanding of the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Christian life and to celebrate the canonization of Father Hurtado—which will take place this coming Sunday, October 23.
In recent years the pilgrimage has become “an encounter of faith and a sign of unity, almost at a national level,” as Chileans from across the country participate in the event.
During the walk, pilgrims will stop at 10 different stations for reflection. At the Shrine of the Andes, they will be able to visit the crypt and enjoy a musical performance. The pilgrimage will culminate in a Mass with Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz to close the Year of the Eucharist.
Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga was born in Viña del Mar, Chile, on Jan. 22, 1901. On Aug. 14, 1923, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Chillan. In 1925 he went to Cordoba, Argentina, where he studied humanities. In 1927 he was sent to Spain to study philosophy and theology.He frequently directed retreats and offered spiritual direction to many young men, accompanying several of them in their response to the priestly vocation and contributing to the formation of many Christian laymen.
In 1941 Father Hurtado published his most famous book: "Is Chile a Catholic Country?" The same year he was asked to assume the role of assistant for the Youth Movement of the Catholic Action, first within the Archdiocese of Santiago and then nationally.
He is known for the numerous social initiatives he led to fight poverty and exclusion in his home country. His apostolate had been an expression of a personal love for Christ the Lord. It was characterized by a great love for poor and abandoned children, an enlightened zeal for the formation of the laity, and a lively sense of Christian social justice.
Father Hurtado was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Oct. 16, 1994.