The Padre Hurtado Shrine: opening our eyes to the reality of the excluded

Father Hurtado, founder of the well-known work Hogar de Cristo(Home of Christ), died on 18 August 1952, but his shrine was inaugurated only on 19 November 1995, one year after his beatification (16 October 1994). The shrine, located in the city of Santiago, Chile, contains the tomb of this apostle of Jesus Christ. Alberto Hurtado dedicated himself totally to the social apostolate. He was close to the poor and especially to the homeless, but his activity touched the whole of Chilean society. His message called attention to the needs and problems of those who were abandoned to their fate on the margins of society.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the shrine’s opening, Father Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Jesuits, sent a video message that underlines the importance of the testimony given by Father Hurtado. Here is the core of his speech:

Twenty-five years have passed since the opening of this beautiful place, anchored in the modest neighborhood of Gran Santiago where Padre Hurtado did much of his social work. It is a place that has enormous significance for us.

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Alberto Hurtado went out of his way to show his contemporaries a reality that not many wanted to see or know about. For twenty-five years, the Shrine has been a constant testimony to his way of opening our eyes to the reality of the excluded. Whoever wants to meet Father Hurtado in a profound way has to do so in places like these, where depressing situations of poverty and marginalization still abound, and where nowadays the challenging phenomenon of migration has made things even worse.

It is wonderful to know the stories of so many people who constantly visit the Shrine in search of grace that will fill their lives with future and hope. It is wonderful to see how Father Hurtado continues to act in the midst of his people. He continues to serve as a messenger of consolation and hope, and also as an effective mediator of the gifts that the good Lord wants to give to everyone in abundance.

In the present-day situation of social, economic and political crisis around the world, I feel that Saint Alberto Hurtado has a significant role to play in keeping our gaze from being diverted or distracted, but, like him, we direct our gaze towards the crucified Lord, and from there we turn it to the crucified peoples of the world, to every person in need. Through the intercession of Alberto Hurtado, we ask for the energy necessary to give a helping hand to those who need it and for the creativity to multiply the means that will allow us to serve more effectively.

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Because of the sanitary restrictions imposed in Chile, as in many other countries, the 25th anniversary celebrations at the shrine on 19 November were modest but joyous. Here is what the director of the shrine, Father Jorge Muñoz Arévalo, SJ, reports:

On Thursday, 19 November, a group of 50 people, including officials, volunteers, and special guests, thanked God for this beautiful space of encounter with Jesus, through the person of Padre Hurtado. The Eucharist, presided by Father Provincial Gabriel Roblerom, was a moment of much comfort and joy. All of us who were present are convinced of the enormous good that the Shrine does for so many pilgrims, as well as for ourselves. It has been 25 years since Father Hurtado’s remains were moved from the old crypt to the present one. The Chapel welcomes the faithful who come here to ask for favors related to health and employment, or simply to seek a moment of peace and give thanks for the graces they feel have been granted through the intercession of this beloved Jesuit saint. Without a doubt, in this time of pandemic and demands for greater justice in the country, Father Hurtado continues to watch over his people, especially the homeless, the forgotten, and the maltreated. He continues to remind us that “charity begins where justice ends”.

[Photos from 2020, 2018 and 2016]

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles public relations.

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