Wednesday, July 04, 2007

St Patrick's Mission in North Lima

The new St Patrick’s Mission is set in an invasion of over half a million people on a bleak section of the coastal sand dunes to the north of Lima airport. [You can see the housing and coastline behind P. Jesus’ head in the photo.]
The mission especially serves a housing association for people with physical disabilities, some of them in wheel chairs. Despite their special needs, there is no running water or sanitation, only dirt roads and an infrequent bus service. People sleep in shacks on the damp sand, sometimes without blankets and suffering from arthritis and bronchial conditions. A number of children have died. They are cut off from sources of employment and almost forgotten by the world.
Fr. Jesús Urbino began working there during Lent this year and the mission has quickly become central to the life of this struggling community. Inspired by the story of the Celtic missionary, St Patrick, he lit a huge bonfire at the Easter Vigil, sending a vivid message of hope that the true light of Christ has come into the world, even for them. There is a growing community that gathers for worship and the local authority has gievn land for a church and centre. The mission offers limited medical care and, more recently, thanks to St Margaret’s Charlotte, has begun to provide food for the hungry children of the area. Thanks, too, to those who have sent money for blankets, especially St Mark’s Minneapolis.

[Until recently, most of the ministries of the Anglican Church have been in the southern and central areas of Lima. For some time there has been a growing desire in the diocese to reach out to the areas of the north. Now the Lord has opened the doors and over the last few months several new missions and home Bible study groups have sprung up quite spontaneously.]

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