ACN Project of the Week in Peru
Help for the training of catechists in in the Peruvian Andes
by ACN Projects Department International
Adapted by Amanda Griffin, ACN Canada
Published online May 26, 2020
In one of the poorest regions of Peru lies the territorial prelature of Chuquibambilla high in the Andes at an altitude of almost 16,000 feet.
Fourteen diocesan priests are currently working in these sometimes very difficult conditions – given that the nearly 100,000 Catholic faithful within the prelature live widely dispersed in many small and often isolated settlements. The distances are large, and the roads, bad. In many places there is no electricity, telephone service or internet. In the rainy season many of the roads are impassable and many are flooded. Consequently, many of the villages are only accessible by a handful of priests who are available, making the work of the lay catechists living in the villages very important for they are responsible for a major part of Church life. They prepare the faithful for the reception of the Sacraments, instruct them in the Faith and pray together with them.
But first, these catechists need to have a sound knowledge of the faith that they will then be able to pass on to others. The prelature has therefore established a series of training courses in order to equip these catechists, who are simply committed volunteers offering their services freely, with the necessary knowledge to carry out their important work. Because some of the people cannot read and write and first their need for support with basic literacy must be addressed. The teaching materials also have to be produced in the local Quechua language spoken by the majority of the population.
Because the last course of this kind was given 11 years ago, it is high time for a new course to be given. All the parishes of the prelature are sending candidates for these courses. This is vital work, as the very life of the Church in this region would be unsustainable without the significant work of lay catechists.