Mass Stipends for 23 priests working in the Amazon region.
The apostolic vicariate of Yurimaguas lies in the Amazon region of eastern Peru. Covering an area of some 27,000 square miles (70,000 km²) the vicariate is larger in area than many of the smaller European countries. The Netherlands and Switzerland, for example have an area of only about 16,000 square miles (41,000 km²), not to mention Malta with just 122 square miles (312 km²). The vast majority of this area is covered by rainforest and is inhabited by a variety of different native Indian tribes.
The people are poor. Their huts are simple structures, covered with palm leaves, and most of their small villages are accessible only by boat via the river network. There are no roads to speak of, and the only medical care and educational service is provided by the missionaries. The women folk cook their simple meals on open wood fires and grow the most basic necessities in their small gardens. Yuca, plantain bananas and occasionally a little fish constitute their basic diet.
Altogether, there are close to 2.2 million people living within the vicariate of Yurimaguas, of whom around 240,000 are Catholics. They are ministered to pastorally by just 23 priests who in travelling to visit their faithful often have to cover vast distances in what are frequently extremely difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions. The climate is hot and humid and mosquito infested, and many people suffer from mosquito-borne diseases. But this does not deter the priests from their work.
Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we are able to support the priests working in the vicariate of Yurimaguas with Mass Stipends each year. Last year you helped them with a total of 8,100 Euros. This year they are once again counting on your help. The administrator of the vicariate has written to thank us, on behalf of all his priests: “We are most grateful to you and to all our brothers and sisters who have helped us, for this gesture of communion and solidarity that you constantly show us, and I want to express to you the thanks of all the priests in the vicariate. We pray to Almighty God that he may always guide you with his grace and that the Blessed Virgin may ever shelter you beneath her mantle.”