Friday, December 22, 2006

Changes to Church in Juliaca

The Mission Church in Juliaca is undergoing some radical changes. Converted from an old shop, a raised area for the sanctuary and four arched windows have been put in, an old pillar in the middle of the space has been removed, and a neighbouring room made into a sacristy with its own access.
There is still much to do - painting walls, sanding and polishing the floor, making pews and sanctuary furniture, but the congregation is beginning to see the vision become reality and are delighted about it.
The Bishop was present on Sunday evening (Dec 17) to celebrate the Eucharist having travelled through an electric storm and torrential rain in the mountains to get there. As the rain eased people eventually began to arrive at the church, and there was great excitement to see the changes.
St Mary Magdalene Mission is also the home to the local office of ECLOF (the Ecumenical Church Loan Fund), which is involved in a small loans programme with the Diocese. Every week 800 people pass through the offices and the mission is seeking ways of serving them with a child care project and a soup kitchen. Staff members of ECLOF were present at the Eucharist on Sunday and everyone is concerned to see that the church and this important ministry work effectively together.
As well as the church area, there are also five rooms on the second floor, an ample classroom, a kitchen and a multi-use building with two large rooms. In the next stage of development new bathrooms will also be installed.

The mission's single biggest need is to find a priest and mission workers. At present P. Juan Carlos Revilla and seminarians make the five hour journey each weekend to serve the people.

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