The territorial prelature of Chuquibambilla lies high up in the Andes at an altitude of up to 16,000 feet (5000 m), in one of the poorest regions of Peru. 14 diocesan priests are currently working here in very difficult conditions – given that the close on 100,000 Catholic faithful within the prelature live widely dispersed in many small and often isolated settlements. The distances are large, and the roads bad. In many places there is no electricity, telephone service or Internet. In the rainy season many of the roads are impassable and many are flooded. Consequently, many of the villages can only rarely be visited by the handful of priests who are available. All the more important, then, is the work of the lay catechists, who live in the villages and are responsible for a major part of Church life in them. They prepare the faithful for reception of the Sacraments, instruct them in the Faith and pray together with them.
First of all, however, these catechists need to have a sound knowledge of the faith that they will then pass on to others. Yet most of them are simple country people. And so the prelature has established a series of training courses in order to equip these catechists, who are simply committed volunteers and offer their services freely and for nothing, with the necessary knowledge to carry out their important work. Some of them cannot even read and write and must therefore first follow a course in basic literacy. And at the same time teaching materials have to be produced in the local Quechua language, which is spoken among the majority of the population, most of whom cannot speak any Spanish.
The last course of this kind was given 11 years ago. So now it is high time for a new course to be given. All the parishes of the prelature are sending candidates for these courses. This is vital work, since the life of the Church in this region would be unthinkable without the work of these lay catechists.
ACN is proposing to support these important training courses with a contribution of 15,000 Euros.