Today, we started our day with breakfast at Santisimo Sacramento and then met for a tour of the Parish. This meant we all piled into the van and drove through the streets of Piura, visiting several small chapels.
We started our day touring the school and hospice center that the parish, led by Padre Joe, has built with donations over the past few years. It is truly a sight to be seen – like an oasis rising up from the rows & rows of one-room homes overflowing with people.
The school is a private school that educated 900 children from ages 3-16. There are beautiful arts classrooms and sporting fields. There is also a center for adult education, teaching crafts such as beauty salon services, auto mechanic services, seeing, & other industries.
We also visited the hospice center and had the privilege of greeting some of the people who have been given the dignity of excellent end-of-life care.
We continued our day with a short drive to San Jacinto parish where we participated in Fr. Joe’s lively mass and received a special blessing from the parishioners at the end of mass. The girls were touched by how at the end of mass, the children rushed to the altar to be sprinkled with holy water by Padre Joe. It was such a demonstration of faith.
After mass, we were greeted by parishioners who were eager to bless us, their visitors. We handed out a few gifts which were quickly accepted by the intimate crowd.
We continued on our tour of the parish and soon met Massimo, a farmer who benefitted from the micro-loans offer by the parish. He had done well and enjoys having the freedom to be able to put two of his daughters through university.
Our day came to a close with a quick trip to the market and then off to visit the girls in the orphanage.
The girls were so excited to meet us -they met us outside of the van, each taking one us by hand to your us around the school. We closed our time there with some field games and a dance show. Padre Joe has truly created a safe place for these young women.