Piura (Peru) -- Jubilee of university students

Many university students were unable to visit Rome to gain the Jubilee indulgence or to take part in the World Youth Day celebrated there in mid-August. But a few weeks later, in Peru, the Jubilee was celebrated in the city of Piura by university students with the same eagerness for conversion. Over ten thousand students took part, many of them from the University of Piura, founded by faithful of the Opus Dei Prelature.

Preparations included a wide distribution of leaflets explaining the Holy Year and the Jubilee, and brief expositions in the halls of the various schools set up by their chaplains, and handing out leaflets explaining the sacrament of penance. The diocesan bishop, Most Rev. Oscar Cantuarias, presided over the opening ceremony and celebrated the final Mass. The opening ceremony took place on the campus of the University of Piura, at the Shrine to the Holy Family. The closing Mass was held on the campus of the National University of Piura; several thousand students took part in both events. Thursday, the 21st, was designated a day of Eucharistic adoration. From early in the morning, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in the university chapel and a constant stream of people came to pray there. At the same time the sacrament of penance was available in various places throughout the university. Many students took part in preparing the carpet of flowers laid down where the procession with the Blessed Sacrament would pass, from the university chapel to the Shrine of the Holy Family.

When the procession with the monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament began, all of the lights on the campus were turned off and thousands of candles carried by students were lit. Father Vicente Plazos, the head chaplain of the University of Piura, carried the monstrance underneath a canopy held up by students and surrounded by others bearing torches. During the procession he was flanked by university students singing Eucharistic hymns.

After the procession thousands of students walked down the main streets of the city to the front of the cathedral. There the Archbishop addressed them in vibrant tones and gave all of them a blessing with the Blessed Sacrament.

On the following day, Friday, the 22nd, confessions continued at both universities up until the moment of Holy Mass at seven in the evening. Archbishop Cantuarias encouraged them to continue in the same spirit that had led many students to a personal conversion, so that this experience would not be something momentary or passing.

Romana, n. 31, July-December 2000, p. 284.

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