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Project of the Week – Peru: Help for the training of 17 seminarians

The apostolic vicariate of Yurimaguas covers a vast territory of over 70,000 km². Among those dwelling here are various indigenous tribal groups, most of them living in deep poverty. Generally, their small riverside settlements consist of simple huts, roofed with palm leaves, and are accessible only by river. Roads are all but non-existent and the only medical care and educational support they receive comes entirely from the Church. But there are far too few priests to minister to all these widely scattered settlements. 

Bishop Jesus Maria Aristin Seco explains how many of the younger people from these communities face massive problems. “Many are from broken families and have no genuine fatherly or motherly figure to look to. Often they live with grandparents or other relatives. As a result of this sense of abandonment they frequently seek refuge in gangs, a phenomenon that leads to youth criminality, theft, alcohol and drug abuse and widespread promiscuity, which in many cases leads them to end up with the HIV Virus. ”  

For those who have access to schooling, the quality of their education frequently leaves much to be desired. Additionally, many young people have to work from a very young age, given the extreme poverty of their families. 

Take the time to train well   

But despite these difficult starting conditions, the vocation apostolate, which was introduced in the vicariate some years ago now, is bearing real fruit, and each year brings fresh vocations. The seminary formation itself is preceded by a two-year preparatory phase, known as the propedeutic, which among other things enables these young men to fill in the gaps in their general school education before they can begin to devote themselves to the study of philosophy and theology proper. 

At the present time, there are 17 young men from the vicariate training for the priesthood. Ten of them are still in the preparatory propedeutic phase in Yurimaguas, while the remaining seven have already moved on to the major seminary in the diocese of Callao and are studying there. Their educators need to give them a great deal of time, care and attention, and it is vitally important to create a climate of mutual trust and brotherly love, so that these young candidates can grow in the virtues and develop humanly, spiritually and intellectually into mature individuals, since many of them have never known a stable family background and have often grown up under difficult circumstances.  

For their bishop, the question of priestly formation is one of the most important tasks in his diocese. His goal is “to form true shepherds, who are genuine missionary disciples of Jesus Christ, following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. He wants them “to be committed to the new evangelization so that, transformed by the Gospel, the celebration of the Paschal mystery and shaped by their life in the seminary, they may be able to help build the Kingdom of God in today’s world.” For as Bishop Seco emphasizes, anyone who wishes to become a priest must above all be a “man of God“ to use the words of Saint Paul. 

We are only too happy to be able to support these 17 young men on their path to the priesthood and have promised 11 550 dollars to help them in their formation. 

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