Sunday, July 05, 2009


Five churches, two schools and two children's homes are being visited by the Bishop in a ten day tour of Arequipa, the Colca Canyon and Juliaca in the south of the Diocese.

The visits began on 3rd July and the Bishop is accompanied by Padre Ruben Mancilla, who will be instituted at parish priest of St Mary Magdalene Mission Church, Juliaca, on 12th July, and Deacon Pastor Zevallos, who is in charge of the Diocese's social outreach work.

The photograph shows the visit to the Santiago Apostol Mission (Mission of St James the Apostle) in the outskirts of Arequipa, where a new church is being built. Two members of the community are showing Padre Juan Carlos, Padre Ruben and the Bishop the plans. The next phase of the building will be to erect the walls, which will be built of the local white "sillar" stone. Arequipa is called "the white city" because so many of its buildings have been built of this stone.

At the Eucharist there this evening, the Bishop preached on the building up of the Church (the people), and asked the congregation what they thought should happen in the new church (building): "a medical centre!" came the reply from one lady. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I think it was a right answer and that Jesus would have approved!

On Monday 6th the team drives to the Colca Canyon to visit the Mission of San Felipe (St Philip) in Cabanaconde. Here they will spend three days with Padre Alejandro Mesco and his wife Doris, and Deacon Justo Maqque.

On Friday 10th they drive on to Juliaca, a city high on the Alteplano, for the celebration of Padre Ruben and Lay Minister Luis Vizcarra's institution. These two young ministers have the task of developing mission work in this new area for the Diocese. It is a great challenge for them both, but their willingness to take it up is a wonderful testimony of faithfulness to the Lord's call and their readiness to put their lives on the line for the Gospel.

The aim of the ten day trip is to visit and encourage the Church, to accompany and stand alongside the young churches, and to strengthen its mission workers, in the style of Paul and Barnabas in the early Church. Paul said to Barnabas, "Come, let us return and visit the believers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are doing." (Ac 15:36).

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