Invitation to mission, Peru 2018

6th April 2018 - by Nathalie Marytsch

Claire, from Ireland, shares what the invitation to mission group of this year’s programme has been up to in Peru.
The day began with input from Fr Noel Kerins on Columban Missionary Trends in Peru. By mixing historical detail, biblical texts, social analysis with lively story telling Fr Noel gave us a great overview of the challenges and developments encountered by missionaries in the context of Peru. After break Fr Peter Hughes brought us right up to date on the Latin American Church’s response to the environmental issues facing the land and the people of the Amazon Basin. In particular Fr Peter spoke to us about Pope Francis’ initiative of the Synod of the Amazon Basin ( El Sinodo de la Iglesia de la Amazonia). It was great to hear of the Church’s response in such a positive and inclusive way to the challenges facing the environment and the indigenous people of that Region.

The afternoon’ visit was to ASPHAD The Association of Persons with Different Abilities. The Association was started by Fr Chris Baker when he was in the parish and now 18 years later it is a well established Centre catering for up to 40 adults and their families. We were warmly welcomed and shown around and we heard and saw that through workshops in sewing, crafts, music, dancing and baking everyone is encouraged to be involved according to their ability. The pride that the members and families had in their achievements was very clear and so was the commitment of the staff. At the end of the day I felt that we had been given deeper insight into mission from so many perspectives but it was the very concrete examples of the the love and commitment of the Columbans for the people they work with and the equal response of the Peruvian people to the Gospel message of love, inclusion and life for all that will stay with me.