The members of the International Twinning Committee and Fr. Joe Uhen extend a very humble and grateful THANK YOU to all the parishioners of St. John Vianney who have generously donated to the ministries at Santisimo Sacramento during 2020. Your support has helped families receive money each month to feed their children, provided scholarships to our Trade School students, and helped provide medical care, medicine and oxygen to the poor who couldn’t go to hospitals due to overcrowding and lack of services. Fr. Joe continues to visit parishioners in their homes and hospitals for confession, communion and the anointing of the sick. The medical staff make home visits to those who are too infirm to come to the clinic. The social workers provide support for many families in need. Because of your financial support, the parish was able to recently secure more oxygen tanks, pressure gauges and regulators for people suffering from Covid-19.
There are no vaccines available in Piura at this time. Lethal cases of Covid-19 are on the rise. Curfews have been extended for longer periods of time daily – 7 pm-4 am. Domestic flights in Peru have been suspended again. The school year which begins in mid-March will again be virtual after being virtual all of 2020. Over 3,200 have died in the Piura region of Covid-19.
Ginet Ambulay, head of the staff, recently wrote us “We hear the moving testimonies of solidarity, of loss, of the presence of our suffering, healer and Savior God. Thanks to St John Vianney Parish! Your donations have made a huge difference. Muchas gracias to you all. Let us keep together in prayer so we can continue doing wonderful things for the good of those who need it most.”
2021 will continue to be challenging for the poor in Piura. Thank you for your continued support of Fr. Joe and his staff in their ministries. Please pray for the people of Piura as they send their love and blessings to all of us.
SJV Trade School Update: PIURA, PERU
It has been one year since I last sent an update on the SJV Trade School in Peru. What a year it has been!
The city of Piura, where the school is located, has been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic. The virus has infected nearly 81,000 people in the region with over 3,200 dying from the disease. Due to extreme poverty, the virus spreads more quickly and the mortality rate is higher than in the USA. Crowded homes and neighborhoods, poor water resources, and limited medical supplies (as basic as oxygen) cause the poor to be more vulnerable.
In an attempt to control the pandemic the Peruvian government has instituted many measures. Lock-downs, curfews, mask mandates and limits to group gatherings are some of the restrictions in place. This seriously affects the ability of the SJV Trade School to provide an education to its students.
Fr. Joe Uhen and the staff at the Trade School are making every effort to continue to foster the dreams of the many students who want to improve their lives and that of their families. Professors are giving lectures on-line but no in-person instruction is available. It is very difficult to prepare students to be auto mechanics, cosmetologists, brick-layers, nurses, bakers, and seamstresses without the hands-on component of the program. It is also impossible for the students to obtain their license without the classroom instruction.
These problems have led to a decline in the number of students able to attend the SJV Trade School. Prior to the pandemic enrollment was 181; currently it is 74. The positive news is that the 107 students unable to take the on-line classes have not given up but are on-hold for when courses resume. It’s unfortunate that our first graduating class of future RNs (26 students that have studied for 3 years) can’t earn their license until they complete just one more course. That course needs to be in-person and is not available during the pandemic.
Despite the hardships that are affecting Piura and the SJV Trade School there is some good news to report, Fr. Joe has mobilized his supporters and staff to provide his parishioners with some of their basic needs; including food and medical supplies. In addition, he has secured funds to further expand the Trade School. Construction began last month on an Auto Repair Garage attached to the current Trade School. When the garage opens in April students and graduates will be able to run an auto repair business servicing the Piura community.
Although there are fewer students, the overhead costs remain the same and the students still struggle with tuition expenses. If you would like to offer financial support for the SJV Trade School please send your donation to the SJV Parish Office.
Fr. Joe and the staff at Santisimo Sacramento Parish appreciate the thoughts and prayers from their twinning parish in Brookfield, WI. They missed not having the missionaries from SJV visit in January. Please continue to pray for the people of Piura as they send their love and blessings to us.
Thank you much,
International Twinning Committee Member