Invitation to mission programme, Peru 2018

3rd April 2018 - by Nathalie Marytsch

A small group from this country and Ireland is spending Easter in Lima, Peru on a missionary experience. Here Hayley P from Norfolk shares some of the group’s journey.

“The most beautiful thing we have is our people” a quote from Laura, JPIC coordinator at the Centre for Columban Missionary studies, a sentiment that I think we all would heartily agree with.

Our day began in the most wonderful way when at 7.00 am we were greeted by the sounds of loud piped music careering across the lawn to our ears, from the school next door. This in turn was accompanied by some Irish dancing from Claire, one of the participants from Ireland, and we were all set up for the day.

We firstly went to the Manuel Duato special needs school for a short assembly, led by Father John Boles, and we each got our turn up on the stage, giving us a great view of the pupils that we are looking forward to meeting again when we have a tour of the school on Thursday.

We spent the morning at the Columban Centre for Missionary studies, learning about the work that takes place in the centre, and the work of the JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation), who work for the defence of creation and migration in Peru.

Late afternoon we visited the Si, da Vida project with Father Cathal Gallagher, who set it up 12 years ago. We learnt that it is a programme which educates around the prevention of HIV; raises awareness; enables those affected with the chronic condition to become promotors; offers counselling, and also gives support to those living with AIDS. We met some of Mujeres Emprendedoras (Enterprising Women) and also had a tour of the radio station on the top floor.
The message that will remain with me is their positive vision:”A long life, a full life, a dignified life and a happy life.”

For me, personally, my quote for the day was by Father Cathal Gallagher, when he said that “mission is not purely sacramental.” I’m still not sure why I was sent here, but I’m hoping some time soon to find out!