District of Perú
The District of Perú had its beginnings in September 1963, when several Eastern Province priests arrived in the country not so much to establish schools as to assume the pastoral care of the field hands and factory workers at a sugar hacienda on the coast named Cartavio.
In 1974, leaving the ministry in Cartavio to a diocesan pastoral team, Holy Cross came together in Chimbote to assume pastoral leadership of three parishes. Our pioneering religious were joined by others who had lived and worked in Chile and needed to find safe haven elsewhere in order to continue their ministry. This increase in manpower allowed Holy Cross in Perú to open our pastoral horizons. Some began an important pastoral presence in Lima, while others accepted an invitation to accompany the indigenous Aymaran community in Puno.
On June 16, 1976, the Eastern Province chapter created the District of Perú. Lord of Hope Parish was begun in Canto Grande in Lima on April 11, 1977. Today, it has become the hub of our ministry in Perú. Incorporating more than 200,000 people in diverse levels of urban poverty, the parish serves a population larger than many dioceses in the United States. The parish is divided into 19 churches and chapels with local pastoral responsibility assumed by numerous lay men and women who are formed and trained by Holy Cross.
To help meet the diverse needs of the parishioners, the District runs Colegio Fe y Alegría (a school within the parish boundaries, serving roughly 1,800 students in both morning and afternoon sessions, with pre-kindergarten, special education, and technical job training available to all). In responding to the various special health needs of the urban poor, the District began over 30 years ago its “Yancana Huasy” project for attending to children and their families who live with physical and mental challenges, including Downs’ Syndrome and other distressing conditions. More recently the District has established a multi-service health clinic within the parish center to combine professional treatment with personal attention.
Supported by the Holy Cross Family Ministries, the District has also built a multi-purpose cultural center to host meetings, groups, workshops and special celebrations. Within this Peyton Center, the District is developing a service-oriented, investigative team that looks critically at family life among the urban poor and responds to their needs in useful and consistent ways.
Holy Cross in Perú shares its journey of challenge and blessing, with both older missionaries and younger Peruvians who have thrown their lot in with the Congregation. The present district concentration in Lord of Hope Parish, with all of its history, institutions, programs and lay collaboration, gives great reason for hope for the people among whom we live and serve.