The Columban Region of Peru
There are 26 Columbans assigned to the Peru Mission – 19 ordained, 3 students, 4 Priest associates.
The Regional Director is Fr.Cathal V. Gallagher SSC
Fr Chris Baker blesses a new ‘special’ bus for adults and children with disabilities in Lima, Peru.
When the Columbans came to Lima in 1951, they took responsibility for a parish of 50,000 people on the northern side of Lima, extending from the Rimac River to the Chillon River. Most of the area was farmland worked under the hacienda system: landed gentry and peasants. The continuous urban sprawl, provoked by population growth and migration from the provinces, forced Columbans to divide and subdivide the original parish. There are now at least 25 parishes, where in 1951 there was only one.
In Peru we continue to work mainly in parishes within areas of poverty and where the dignity of life hasn’t been respected. From this parish base our principal focus is the striving to promote and empower lay leadership with co-responsibility in Church and Peruvian society. Christ being the model, and through trying to live and promote gospel values, we want to channel His fullness of life to all, especially to the downtrodden and those who have been forgotten by society.
Fr. Ed O’ Connell from Britain is currently based in the parish of Our Lady of the Missions and Fr. John Hegerty is in the parish community of Christ the Saviour, both in Lima.
After many years in parish communities, the affection of the people is very evident, they can relate to us openly and very much welcome our style as we encourage them to participate in what is their church. They see our mission as part of their own journey towards freedom from being stereotyped by their poverty. The personal contact and friendship we share is at once affirming for them, and for us also, through being accepted and valued. It is a mutual evangelization. We grow through our involvement with them and we grow in freedom from our own prejudices.
ASPHAD Centre and the Manuel Duato School
Life in Peru is particularly challenging for adults and children with disabilities. In response to this, Columbans have supported local communities to found two centres providing access to educational opportunities, allowing adults and children the chance to develop their skills and abilties. Read more about ASPHAD and the Manuel Duato School.
Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC)
Our advocacy work in JPIC has helped to promote the use of water and the protection from contamination of its sources in Lima. There has been a breakthrough in Peru in the whole area of ecology, which is highlighting the devastation of the country by industry, with Peruvians themselves spearheading these initiatives.
Other JPIC advocacy themes which have been promoted successfully are women’s rights, the human rights of children and people with special needs, the prevention of and care for those with HIV, and we are in the forefront of promoting Child Protection in respect of sexual abuse.
Our programs for inviting lay people to form teams to work in areas were the church hasn’t as yet been established, and even within existing parish structures, is a tremendous gift to many, with the Columban Centre for Missionary Studies (CEM) giving them the formation required. We are more determined than ever to promote local lay missionaries (CMC), as we see this as being a significant part of the future growth of the Church in Peru.
If you would like to find out more about our work in Peru, please contact the UK Mission Office on 01564 772 096 or e-mail to:
Help us reach out to people at the margins of society. We rely heavily on your support.
Please consider making a donation