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Sunday, March 26, 2017
Fr Kevin Dring writes from Peru -14
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¬†Dear Friends... Queridos Amigos, Hope all's well with you. I'm down for my monthly few days visit from the hills to the coast (Frias to Chulucanas) so taking the opportunity to send a little letter. May has been a very colourful month so far. We began with the blessing of images of Mary which are then taken from house to house (family to family) every evening for the month and the rosary prayed. This is a practice in the whole diocese - so if every family has it's 'slot' that's 85,000 rosaries... 425,000 decades!! I then went, with our three lovely parish Sisters (Helen, Palepa, Saani) up to Lagunas - an eight hour drive to the other side of the parish - where we spent a week leading courses for parish groups and finishing with a two day paediatric 'campana medica' with volunteer medics from the USA. The courses went well and, as always, the faith and commitment of the people is very moving and powerful. One man on the Sunday morning had left his home at 3am walking to be in time for the Mass at 9am - and then (of course) walked home! There's such enthusiasm and a hunger to learn and pass on to others the faith. This year the theme in the diocese of all our pastoral work / meetings / visits is to deepen understanding of what it means to belong to 'la Iglesia' (the Church). A big topic but with a whole year to work with! There is always LOTS of singing ... and group work. Then the doctors arrived with suitcases of medicines and equipment - five of them (three docs and two nurses). They were a wonderful group and it was a pleasure and privilege to work with them for two days, helping with the translation. It was the first visit EVER of a 'campana medica' to Lagunas which is a fairly remote and very poor part of the parish. The three medics saw 300 children in a day and a half. Amazing! Every child was treated with great kindness and given a good examination. I became so confident after a day of translating for Dr Brian Costello that I offered to give him the morning off - "don;' worry I can take over from here!" Fortunately, for the children's sake, he declined my kind offer. What a great blessing for the people to have these medical campaigns - three times a year in the diocese. A lot of the money that was donated when I was in the UK recently - and pledged in the coming months - is used directly to finance these health projects. Money very well spent! Then back to Frias and the celebration last Sunday of the Dia de la Madre (Mother's Day). They really go for it here in Peru - not just a box of chocs or bunch of flowers but a full blown FIESTA with the National Anthem solemnly sung in the Plaza, followed by Mass and then spilling back into the Plaza for communal lunch provided for ALL mothers by the mayor, music and free drink (for the women only!), gifts from the mayor for every mother etc etc. As the day progresses the Plaza is filled with a throng of dancing mothers ... and the few menfolk who feel confident enough to stay with them!! Happy Dia de la Madre to all mothers. To my pleasant surprise I turned round at one point to find a young Norwegian lady, Tone, standing next to me - a very RARE experience in Frias! She's a doctoral student studying the effects of the 'El Nino' storms (1983 & !997) on the vegetation in the area. Like most non-English young people she spoke perfect English. She told me she thought I was a 'local' due to the hat. Somehow, even with the sombrero, I don't think i could quite pass as a local ... your vote?! Well amigos that's some recent news. Always enjoy hearing yours too when i come down and connect up the computer. Will be out visiting our rural communities in the campo for the next few weeks - and on and off for the next eight months. Will be in touch again in a month or so. Until then take care and Dios les Bendiga. con afecto, Kevin Fr Kevin Dring is a Diocesan Priest from Arundel and Brighton. His letters are always accompanied by beautiful pictures. Unfortunately at the moment we can't put them on the site ≠ but if you would like to see them ≠ e-mail and I'll send them on to you - Jo
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