TRIANGLE, Va. — A group of 12 from St. Francis of Assisi Parish here offered help to three communities in Peru through a recent service trip. Robert Menard, OFM, and 11 pilgrims, traveled to South America last month to visit sister parishes where three Province friars minister.
During the June 23 through July 2 trip, pilgrims met with Christopher Dunn, OFM, pastor at Nuestra Senora de Lourdes in Chorrillos, Lima; Anthony Wilson, OFM, pastor at Santa Ana in Villa Maria del Triunto; and Carlos Sarmiento-Diaz, OFM, parochial vicar at Santa Ana.
Lending a Helping Hand
The group from Virginia met with parishioners and worked on service projects, including laying a tile floor, painting a firehouse and seeing an addition to one of the churches that St. Francis of Assisi Church helped fund.
The first two days were spent at the Instituto Bartolome de las Casas learning about the cultural, political, social, religious and economic conditions in Peru, said Anne Tunney, the Triangle parish’s outreach director.
After two days of classes, the group was divided into three teams that went to the parishes “to meet new friends and lend a hand,” Tunney said. One group worked with Christopher and his parishioners, preparing hygiene packs to be distributed through the parish clinic.
Another group visited Anthony at the Santa Ana Parish and School, helping in the classroom, rejoicing in the second-floor addition that St. Francis of Assisi Church helped to fund and visiting neighborhood families at nearby Santo Tomàs Chapel, she said.
A third group traveled to the hills of Manchay with Carlos to scrape and paint walls and pews alongside parishioners, and lay a cement and tile floor in the rundown chapel of San Juan de Bautista, according to Tunney.
“On the weekend, we attended liturgies at both Nuestra Senora de Lourdes and Santa Ana, presented a Saludos book, and some members shared their talent for music and song at both parishes,” Tunney said. On Sunday afternoon, St. Francis pilgrims worked with firemen to paint the firehouse where Christopher is chaplain.
“The next few days were spent helping at the Garderia at Nuestra Senora de Lourdes, the school at Santa Ana, and visiting a vocational school located near the Santa Ana parish, where we sampled the most delicious chocolates and cookies made in the most humble of facilities,” she added.
On the last day, the pilgrims reflected and made a plan at the institute for how to continue the relationships made in Peru once back home.
“Despite the overwhelming poverty and need we saw firsthand, we came back understanding that our brothers and sisters in Peru had enriched our lives beyond measure,” Tunney said.
The Triangle parish’s work with Peruvian people was included in “Meeting Jesus in the Shanty Towns of Lima,” an article in the summer 2009 issue of The Anthonian. It shows photos of Christopher Dunn, Bob Menard, Paul Breslin, OFM, guardian of the Lima friary, and Carlos Sarmiento.
Click the above photo to view a behind collage. The collage’s top group photo shows (seated) Rose Bergeria, Cecilia Bergeria, Justin Bond, Anne Tunney, Lee Bond, Debi Whittle, Sr. Colet Kearney, IHM, Terry Danner, and (in front) Teresa Rayhel with Sandy the dog in front of the preschool at Nuesta Senora de Lourdes. In the bottom group photo, in front of San Juan de Batista, are Carlos, Justin Bond, Lee Bond and Joe Driewqa (second from right) with parishioners from Manchay.