“The Maltese and Gozitans are assisting people in Peru’ to breathe” – Bishop Giovanni Cefai

The Catholic Church will tomorrow, Sunday 18th October, commemorate Missions Day during which the Church reviews the work carried out by priests, religious members and the laity in missionary lands.

On this occasion, Bishop Giovanni Cefai from Żebbuġ Gozo and a member of St Paul’s Missionary Society, wrote to on the missionary work he and his colleagues carry out in Huancane’ in Peru during this moment of challenge as, apart from daily material and spiritual needs, they are also combating the Covid-19 pandemic. Peru is the eight most affected country in the world with a registered 862,417 and also the fifth country with most virus related deaths – 33,648.

The majority of residents in Huancané, where Bishop Cefai works, are poor farmers. They live in mountains and in small villages situated some 4,000 metres above sea level with lack of oxygen and with cold weather. Bishop Cefai is responsible for the area which is 60 times bigger than Malta and Gozo.

Bishop Cefai wrote the following:

“The Santa Marija convoy has again arrived! On the 14th August I received a phone call telling me that the Malta Claris Foundation are presenting me a very nice donation to assist me with the needed oxygen for the people of Peru. I couldn’t but really remember that beautiful event for the Maltese during World War II and which is repeating itself for the Peruvians, when with great suffering the hand of God and Our Lady reappeared in a miraculous way. Thanks Maltese and Gozitans who through your kindness are assisting people to breath. It is heartbreaking that many people are dying due to lack of oxygen. We are assisting people directly with oxygen equipment provided through your assistance. This is the first phase of the project because, on our part, we will be purchasing more oxygen equipment in the near future. In fact, the total sum that you Maltese and Gozitans sent me to provide oxygen and other medical material reached €86,256. Many thanks for your great generosity./em>

We already have the equivalent for a plant that produces 60 cubic metres of oxygen daily. As we are situated 4,000 metres above sea level, he had to purchase special equipment to produce enough oxygen for this environment. We also have 21 oxygen cylinders for those who need them, together with furnished wards so that patients will be able to receive assistance and oxygen, under the observation of a medical team. We say that every day that passes, we have again saved many lives.

I also like to thank the Ċentru Animazzjoni Missjunarja, within the St Paul’s Missionary Society, who have just presented me with a nice donation to sponsor a kitchen for the poor for a whole year. In my parish, we opened a kitchen for the poor which provides meals for some 100 persons, including many elderly persons, children and families. Thanks to you Maltese and Gozitans who in Summer assisted us during the marathon “Oħloq Tbissima”, and to the Mission Fund who donated €5,000 for our mission. Rest assured that you are in my daily prayers. On behalf of these people who receive assistance, I tell you: Heartfelt thanks and be blessed”.