Much needed renovation of a centre for the vocations apostolate and lay formation
The prelature of Chuquibambilla in southern Peru lies high up in the hills, at an altitude of somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 feet (3000 – 5000 m). It is a region of great poverty, where the local people have to contend with poor soils and frequent droughts. Added to this the 10 years of terror and civil war inflicted by the Maoist guerillas of the so-called Shining Path rebels during the 1980s have left behind deep scars among the people that remain unhealed to this day.
Many families have been torn apart, psychological and physical violence are still very prevalent, there are many orphans, and many lonely elderly and widowed people left to their own devices and without any help. But there are also many people in whom the faith burns strongly, and even in the remote mountain villages there is a rich spirituality among the people.
Roughly 95% of the 100,000 people living in the prelature of Chuquibambilla are Catholics. They are ministered to by 14 priests and 21 religious sisters who travel to the most inaccessible villages to support the people there – for they cannot expect any help from the state authorities. It is the Church alone which helps in all the people’s spiritual and material necessities.
Training as a form of service
There is a desperate shortage of priests in the region. As a consequence, there has been an attempt to strengthen the vocations apostolate in recent years. This year 33 young people took part in a vocations program. Five young men have now entered the propaedeutic, or pre-seminary stage (a form of preparatory year before entering the seminary proper) in a neighbouring diocese (since the prelature itself has no seminary structures of its own). The aim is also to do more for the formation of the laity, and especially for the catechists who play such an important part in the villages. Opportunities will also avail themselves for families, who will, it is hoped, become a more fruitful soil for spiritual vocations.
Clearly, a suitable centre is needed to hold regular monthly sessions as part of this vocations apostolate and ongoing formation of the laity. There is a building which 45 years ago housed a minor seminary but was closed down 30 years ago and has never been renovated since.
We are proposing to help with a contribution of $35,250 for the renovation of this building.