High in the Peruvian Andes
Bishop Enrique Pelach, the first priest of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, brought thousands of men and women to God traveling by horseback along mountain trails in Peru.
As a young priest, when finishing his studies in Rome, he met and became a friend of St. Josemaría Escrivá. Shortly thereafter he was the first priest to ask for admission to the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, which St. Josemaría had founded as an association of the clergy intrinsically united to Opus Dei.
Father Pelach was appointed Bishop of Abancay by Pope Paul VI and took possession of the diocesan Cathedral on July 21, 1968. It was in that same Cathedral that his funeral took place on July 21, 2007. In his homily, the current Bishop Isidro Sala said that the heart of Bishop Pelach "has ceased to beat on earth, but it has not ceased to love, because Love with a capital letter—that love with which he loved God and humanity—will never end."
Bishop Sala said that "as the first priest of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, he also helped the Work grow and opened up a pathway with his fidelity. He sought sanctity with determination in his ministry as a priest and as a bishop. In Opus Dei, as he himself said, one finds the best place both to live and to die."
He added that, "in a difficult moment," he had received from St. Josemaría "the advice and encouragement to create the diocesan seminary for the formation of priests in this land, which has borne such great fruit."
"His love for the poor was of a great evangelical depth: one has to visit Abancay to know the greatness of Enrique’s soul," wrote Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, Primate of Peru, in an article published in the newspaper El Comercio on August 2, 2007.
1957 photo of first 5 priests who arrived in Yauyos
According to the Cardinal, "he saw the teaching of the faith as a very urgent task, reflected in the monumental work of the Pelach-Kunher Catechism, of which more than 100,000 copies have been sold. Another instrument he provided was the Devocionario Rezar y Cantar [Prayer and Song Book], which thousands of our ‘campesino’ brothers and sisters in the Andean mountains have found useful."
(from Romana 46)