The apostolic vicariate of Yurimaguas in the east of Peru is situated for the most part in the Amazon rainforest, in an area that is home to various different indigenous Indian groups.
The 224,000 or so Catholics in this region live scattered over an area greater than many of the smaller European countries. There are just 25 priests to care for them, all of whom face long, difficult and dangerous journeys as part and parcel of their mission.
Consequently, one of the greatest needs of the vicariate is for more priests to help in the task of ministering to the Catholic faithful, bringing them the sacraments and caring for them pastorally. And so the vicariate has established a vocations apostolate, which is already bearing fruit. For there are 19 young men currently preparing for ordination. Seven of them are still in their two preparatory years at the propedutic seminary of Yurimaguas, while the remaining 12 are already studying at the seminary in the diocese of Callao, near the capital, Lima.
In years gone by it was heroic European missionaries who braved all the adversities of the region and proclaimed the Good News of the Gospel here. But today their numbers have dwindled and the new, home-grown vocations are coming from the Peruvian people in the parishes they once founded. Being born and brought up in the region, these young men are ideally suited, physically, linguistically and culturally, to working in these climatic conditions among the indigenous peoples of the rainforest. We are only too happy to support these 19 young men on their path to the priesthood and have promised 5,650 Euros towards the cost of their training.