This coming spring marks the sixth time students from JSerra Catholic High School will be going to Peru to help Father Joe with his parish at Santisimo Sacramento Catholic Church. Father Joe, or Padre as the kids call him, is the Pastor of this church in the city of Piura, Peru. With over 60 percent of the 40,000 in Padre’s parish living in poverty, most in extreme conditions, our students are able to share their graces while assisting Padre in this humble work.
Padre is an American priest who attended Notre Dame and after graduation, spent time working with Mother Teresa. Eventually he ended up in Piura, in northwestern Peru, about 25 miles from the Pacific ocean. Padre has built dormitories on the grounds of his church for American missionaries to stay in while visiting this area. JSerra’s students are able to help these faithful, loving, and grateful people who were born into circumstances beyond their control. In turn, the Peruvian people are able to show these young students that with just faith, hope and love, they can lead happy, satisfying lives with few material possessions and without comforts such as electricity and running water.
About 25 students and at least 6 adults will travel to Peru at their own expense for a week-long Easter break that will involve lots of hard work and lots of enriching experiences. The work the students can choose from consists of some of the following: building bamboo homes, brick classrooms, neighborhood chapels, delivering food, beds, blankets and clothing, working with parish nurses at the hospice or visiting the home bound, visiting orphanages, and serving at the breakfast or lunch kitchens for the elderly. Many other activities fill the week including fiestas, taking local kids to the ocean and the movies, playing soccer, and helping in the schools.
JSerra is very proud of the connection we have built with Padre’s parish and with the important life lessons our students are learning. Our Mission Statement includes fostering a commitment to serve and through this wonderful ministry, we are fulfilling that mission.