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Life in Our Sister Parish

by Sep 20, 2021Sister Parish

Who does not remember the impact by the Covid pandemic on food security here in the United States. The evening news had stories nightly. And this was in the United States.

Life in our Sister Parish – Lima Peru

The impact of the pandemic was particularly hard on the people of Peru. For months Peru held the grim title of first worldwide in per capita COVID-19 deaths. But the effects of the pandemic are not only in illness and death, but there are other effects that ripple throughout the nation. The pandemic hit Peru after a period of economic struggles in which the nation’s GDP growth was slow and unemployment, already a problem, grew. In 2020, the GDP fell almost 13% – and the impact is felt at every level in the nation and most urgently among the poor. In the wake of the pandemic, the poverty rate in and around Lima went from 14% to 28 % of the population in one year. Our Sister Parish especially feels the impacts.

Why it’s important. While there have been interruptions in the US economy, we are blessed in our access to the basics of life: home, water, food and health care. While we have things that concern and worry us, generally, we are spared disruptions in the basics. Not so Peru. Not so the people of Parroquia Santa Anna, our Sister Parish outside Lima Peru.

“...everyone has the right to possess a sufficient amount of the earth’s goods for themselves and their family. This has been the opinion of the Fathers and Doctors of the church, who taught that people are bound to come to the aid of the poor and to do so not merely out of their superfluous goods. Persons in extreme necessity are entitled to take what they need from the riches of others.” (Gadium et Spes para. 69)

The fall in GDP is a number that reflects the ripples of a troubled nation whose impact is always felt most deeply by the poorest, especially in the “new  towns” or squatter settlements outside the city proper. These are Lima’s most vulnerable populations. The impact of the pandemic economy is felt in many ways – most especially access to water, food, health care, and jobs.

If someone who has the riches of this world sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 Jn 3:17). It is well known how strong were the words used by the Fathers of the Church to describe the proper attitude of persons who possess anything towards persons in need. To quote Saint Ambrose: “You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common for the use of all, you have arrogated to yourself. The world is given to all, and not only to the rich.Populorum Progressio (“On the Development of Peoples”), Pope Paul VI, 1967, #23.

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