Menu

 

Home

 

Peru

Peru Connection

 

Peru lies on the Western seaboard of South America with Colombia and Bolivia to the north and south, and a small portion of Brazil on it's Eastern boundary. Also to the North lies Ecuador, famed for it's volcano formations and bananas. The most dominant features of Peru are the Andes Mountains and it's 1500 mile long Pacific coastline.

Peru contains an area of almost 500,000 square miles and a population of about 28 million people. It's time zone is minus five hours Greenwich Mean Time. The main language is Spanish with Quechua and Aymara as ancient minor tongues. The population is 90% Roman Catholic, the remaining being both Anglican and Methodist.

Ironically, the main ethnic group is only 45% indigenous, with a mixed Indigenous-European element of 18%, pure European 14% and the balance made up of Chinese, Japanese and African.

The economy is balanced on Services 53%, Agriculture 35% and industry 12%. The Gross National Product per capita is 1950 Euros.

The climate is mainly tropical but cold in the high mountains.

It is believed that humans have existed in Peru for about 10,000 years with evidence of civilisation in the form of irrigated agriculture, fine pottery and textiles of intricate designs dating over 3,000 years ago. One of the most well known tribes who lived in Peru was the Incas, who during the thirteenth and fourteenth century established many fine cities in the Andes. Regrettably, with the coming of the Spanish and the Catholic religion, the Inca civilization and their fine empire were destroyed in the quest for gold and treasure.

Of more recent times, Peru has suffered from the activities of a Maoist guerrilla group known as Sindero Luminoso, or more commonly called Shining Path. Their existence has greatly reduced the tourist trade and a valuable source of revenue. To balance this, greater emphasis has been placed on exports, mainly petroleum, copper extract, anchovies and sardines. The country suffers from the recent phenomena known as El Nino due to the convergence of the cold Atlantic and warm Pacific waters.

As Peru faced into the twenty first century there has been a dramatic upturn in the economy, with inflation falling from 7,000 plus % to single figures, this being largely due to the establishment of a single legislative body.

 

The Peru Connection with St. Patrick's began in 1961 when the then parish priest, Archdeacon Tom Duggan resigned the parish to join Cardinal Cushing's "Society of St. James the Apostle" priests to work in South America. Sadly, he died just one month after arriving in Lima, Peru. It was following the funeral that the late Bishop Lucey visited the City of Trujillo and was so moved by the poverty and the shortage of priests in the area, that he established the Cork and Ross Mission to Peru. The names of Bishop Michael Murphy, Fr. Michael Crowley, Fr. Tim O'Sullivan and Fr. Paddy Leader will always be associated with the Mission.

In 1992, the mission was extended to the outskirts of the City of Manta, Ecuador, and continued there for a period of ten years.

In all, some 60 priests of the diocese of Cork and Ross, with some priests from Kerry and Cloyne, have worked on the South American Mission. An even greater number of sisters from the Bons Secours and Mercy Orders have also served on the missions as nurses, teachers and parish sisters.

 

CANON LIAM LEADER IN PERU

January 08

 

Fifty years ago Cardinal Cushing of Boston, USA, was asked by Pope John XXIII to address the lack of priests in South America. He set up the St. James Missionary Society and invited bishops to release priests to join. The mission was set up in Lima, capital of Peru. Archdeacon Duggan, the P.P. St. Patrick's was among the first priests from Cork to volunteer. He joined Fr. Michael Murphy (later bishop of Cork), Fr. Tim O' Sullivan, Fr. Michael Crowley and Fr. Paddy Leader who were already serving there. Archdeacon Duggan died shortly after arriving and when Bishop Lucey went out to the funeral he recognised the need for a more focussed mission and was given a coastal desert region beside the city of Trujillo, three hundred miles north of Lima, an area which was being populated by people coming down from the Andes in search of employment. The Cork and Ross Mission to Peru was established in Trujillo on 17th March 1965.Within two years Sisters of Mercy from Bantry established a convent there, as also did Bon Secours Sisters from Cork.

With Fr. Tim O'Sullivan, now back in Kilmurray parish, Canon Liam Leader visited Lima for the Golden Jubilee of the St. James Missionary and also visited Trujillo to see the extent of the work of the Cork and Ross priests and sisters. Sr. Consuela McCullagh, native of Cork, of the Bon Secours Convent took them on a tour of the schools and churches built out of contributions from the home dioceses and they experienced the gratitude of the people there to the people of Cork and Ross.

In 1992, the mission was extended to the outskirts of the City of Manta, Ecuador, and continued there for a period of ten years.

In all, some 60 priests of the diocese of Cork and Ross, with some priests from Kerry and Cloyne, have worked on the South American Mission. An even greater number of sisters from the Bons Secours and Mercy Orders have also served on the missions as nurses, teachers and parish sisters.

The Golden Jubilee of the St. James Missionary Society was celebrated in Lima by a great re-union of past and present missionaries from all over the world, presided over by the present Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O' Malley, culminating in an open-air Mass in the suburbs of Lima where 3,000 people celebrated with 52 priests and 11 bishops. The gospel that day was proclaimed in Spanish by Monsignor Finbarr O' Leary of Inchigeelagh, now head of the St. James Society. The mission in Peru is going strong after 50 years.

Fr. Tim O'Sullivan and Sr. Consuela

Santisimo Sacramento

(school built by Cork & Ross mission)

 

Main Plaza in Trujillo

The Church attached to Santisimo Sacramento

The Cathedral at Trujillo

Pan Americana

(passing through Trujillo, the road runs the coast of South America)

 

 

"Honour and Gratitude to the Irish Priests"...

 

(including Fr. Tim O'Sullivan and Fr. Michael Murphy)

 

Archdeacon P. Thomas Duggan's Grave

Sr. Consuela outside another Trujillo Church built by the Cork and Ross Mission

A Map of Ireland!

Cork Mercy Nuns building a church here

(note the rough terrain typical of Trujillo)

 

The Andes mountains in the distance...

A Clinic that was originally a convent of the Mercy Nuns from Bantry

"The Parish School of St.Patrick"

A painting by a local artist

Canon Liam Leader and Fr.Tim O' Sullivan with local nuns

 

The Golden Jubilee of the St James Missionary Society was celebrated in Lima by a great re-union of past and present missionaries from all over the world, presided over by the present Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O Malley.
Open-air Mass in the suburbs of Lima where 3,000 people celebrated with 52 priests and 11 bishops.
 
 

 

The mission, in 2004, has almost reached its completion. Bishop Buckley's Letter of September 2004 details this final phase, and is published in our September 19th newsletter. Click here for the full letter.