Today the 15th of November 2017 we received a very important donation consisting of boxes of food, clothing and much more, sent by the very generous Maltese people through the C.A.M. (Center for Missionary Animation). The C.A.M. is an organization that keeps the Maltese community always in touch and involved in many ways with the missions the world over and especially those belonging to the Missionary Society of Saint Paul (MSSP). Thanks to Fr. Louis Mallia mssp, the center's director and his staff, we are able to reach out very far to support our people. Thank you Fr. Louis, C.A.M's staff and the Maltese people for doing such a good job!
On Friday the 10th of November the parish together with MMI organized an eye care outreach for the people of the mission. The outreach included pre-selecting patients for possible operation to be held before the end of the year. A big thank you to the MMI (Medical Ministry International - Peru) for a job very well done.
Hello everybody. I am writing today to let you all know that I am on my way back to the Alto Cayma mission in Arequipa, Peru. This is the reason for not having any news these past 6 weeks. I have been visiting family in Melbourne and Sydney in Australia. At the moment I am in Portland OR, and shall be in Alto Cayma on Sunday the 15th of October. It will be full ahead as soon as I get back. I reach in the morning and have two masses to celebrate. October is the month dedicated to the "Señor de los Milagros" which is the biggest devotion in Peru and celebrated in all cities, villages and settlements.
On the same day a group of Maltese visitors will visit the mission after touring many places in Peru.
Keep on checking the news section as more news are on the way!
The 23rd of July 2017 marks an important date for the Alto Cayma mission as we opened a new Adoration Chapel. The idea behind it is that many people come to the mission compound every day in search of a helping hand, being it spiritual, material or other, and so we would like to put first things first. We are encouraging people to first spend some time in prayer in front of the Eucharist and then we'll listen to them as we always did. A nice detail in the chapel is a section with pictures of our work and communities to be always in the presence of Him who makes it all possible.It is thank to God that we are able to do so much to help those in need around us, and the least we can do is being grateful to our very loving God.
Talking about being thankful, we are very grateful to Christine Bartek from the U.S. who sponsored the Adoration Chapel. She is a wonderful person who came to visit the mission, was touch by it and acted upon it. Christine gave the best gift to our people by creating a space for all of us where we can have some quiet time in the presence of the Almighty and feel lifted up.
Thanks Chris and blessings for such a wonderful gift.
For the last 21 years Health Bridges International (HBI) has partnered with the Missionary Society of St. Paul (MSSP) and Father Alex Busuttil in Alto Cayma, Arequipa, Perú. Our partnership has been blessed by many trials, tribulations, and victories while helping marginalized populations improve their own health and wellbeing. The reason for our longstanding collaboration is that we have done it all – together.
One of the opportunities we provide together are service learning trips for volunteers of all ages and nationalities. We call them Team Perú, and we just completed our 21st year alongside Father Alex. Here’s a list of what we accomplished – together.
We arrived on Friday and were oriented to our surroundings by Father Alex. He lead a description and discussion on his recent efforts and what the reality of community development entails.
Saturday was a full day of outreach and we were all exhausted. We spent the day pouring a foundation for a home improvement in a settlement community called Mujeres de Esperanza (Women of Hope). The community is a part of Father Alex's parish and includes some 18,000 people. Many of the people living in Mujeres de Esperanza are building new lives for themselves. They are working and saving - they are steadily putting the pieces together for a more solid future.
For these people - Father Alex has started a Compassion Fund. It is a program that is facilitated by a social worker and helps to find resources (including money) to support people with their most critical needs. It is a "bridge program" that serves people by filling a gap or addressing a challenge - so they can move into a new place in their lives.
On Sunday we toured the city of Arequipa and bought gifts for our families and friends back home.
On Monday a group of volunteers spent the day the working on construction of a new chapel while another group participated in home visits with the social worker from Father Alex's parish. In groups of 4, they visited homes and talked with people about their needs and ways the mission can support them. The home visits are for many volunteers the highlight of their time in Arequipa.
Many of the people who are receiving support are single mothers who are struggling to find the resources to care for their families. One such person was the woman who's home we built an extra room. She is a single mother and has little resources. The extra room (she will soon have a two-room house) will provide needed space for her children to sleep and play.
On Tuesday our volunteers had the opportunity to work in the “soup kitchen” chopping vegetables for the 200 meals that will be served at lunch. As well as having taught hand washing, oral hygiene, and physical education to the kindergarten next door.
On Wednesday our volunteers helped to hand out clothing to individuals enrolled in the Compassion Fund and finish the week of work by painting the roof of the new chapel. And on Thursday the volunteers returned to the states or continued on to cultural activities in Cusco, the Colca Canyon, and the Amazon Jungle.
HBI is blessed to have a partner in the Missionary Society of St. Paul and Father Alex. We look forward to all future opportunities to work together, especially under the newly formed Vida y Compasión program whose mission is:
Inspired by the Word of God
We build community in Alto Cayma
Through the formation of dedicated local leaders
Who promote human dignity
By serving God and His people
The Missionary Society of St. Paul was founded on the 30th of June 1910 by Mons. Joseph De Piro. Today it has missions in Australia, Canada, Peru, Pakistan, The Philippines, Rome, Cuba, Vietnam and Malta where it has originated from. The missionaries in Peru celebrated the important occasion with the Holy Eucharist in which many people from the different parishes run by the MSSP attended. Afterwards there was a short ceremony in the square where there is a state of the founder Mons. Joseph De Piro, and then we shared a fraternal dinner.
We are excited to announce the opening of a new adoration chapel. Construction began a few weeks ago and the chapel is expected to be open by mid July. The chapel will be open daily for meditation and contemplation.
If you had seen the international news this past March, northern Peru sustained heavy rains and flooding. Lima in particular suffered extensive landslides and overflowing rivers. We in the Alto Cayma region endured tremendous damage as well. Since all roads here in Alto Cayma are dirt, many had been completely washed away. Provisional water connections in the settlements had either been badly damaged or destroyed. New connections needed to be installed. Nearly 50 homes were severely damaged or collapsed under the flooding. About 200 families either lost everything or many of their belongings. Deep crevices were formed on almost all roads making transportation virtually impossible. Some crevices were over 3 meters wide and the most severe were 3-6 meters deep completely cutting off homes. This made it especially hazardous for children in danger of falls.
All of us at the mission were very much involved in the relief efforts in many ways. We helped by:
Providing water pipes to reconnect water supply
Scheduling regular potable water cisterns
Bringing in heavy machinery to rebuild roads
Supplying building materials to repair damaged homes
Providing food hampers, blankets, clothing and other essentials.
We are thankful for all those involved in our restoration efforts. Without your help we would not have been able to rebuild and care for so many.
The photos below illustrate the damage as well as our emergency relief assistance.