On August 9, the Missionary Society of St Paul will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its first missionaries in Aplao - the capital city of the province of Castilla on the southern and mountainous region of Peru. The celebrations will take place in the parish of St Peter, Aplao.

It was very hard at the beginning. There was no electricity, no running water and not enough food. We felt ourselves really in the missions - far from our lovely country of Malta. Although we had no decent home we, being young priests, were not discouraged. Full of missionary spirit and energy, we integrated with the local culture, and began to organise the parish. We worked hard to train lay people to evangelise the children and families, and founded Christian communities each with a cathechist leader, especially in the villages very far from the parish centre.

Now, after all these years, with the help of many Maltese benefactors, we have succeeded in forming a Christian conscience in our people. Many common kitchens were built so that poor families could have their daily food. We also built clinics for the poor attended by volunteer physicians, and schools for children from kindergarten up to high school. In many villages where there was no church to celebrate the liturgy with the people, we built new chapels.

As one can see, a lot of pastoral and social work has been done - and much has been achieved thanks to the generosity and missionary spirit of the Maltese. Readers in Malta cannot all come to Peru, but they are with us with their help and can say they have a share in our missionary work.

Dear benefactors, we still need your help for the poor. We love you and pray for you too. To be able to continue with our missionary work, I would like to appeal to your generous love for the poor, and ask you to keep on helping and serving Jesus Christ in His poor people of Peru, especially the children. Meanwhile, in July I'll be staying at the Motherhouse, St Agatha, Rabat. tel. 2145 9222, 2145 4503. With love and prayers.

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