- Two out of four of the encounters Francis will have in this region include the indigenous Amazonian peoples as their main participants.
Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, December 29 – With only 20 days left for Pope Francis’ arrival to Peru, the people of Madre de Dios and surroundings are expecting with high prospects this encounter with the Holy Father, which will take place in emblematic sites of the capital of the region, Puerto Maldonado, on Friday 19, 2018.
For this reason, the Peruvian Episcopalian Conference-CEP, in coordination with the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Maldonado, in charge of Monsignor David Martínez de Aguirre Guinea, are working out the spaces selected for the visit of the Holy Father to the “Capital of Biodiversity of Peru”, as Madre de Dios is known.
1.- STARTING POINT: JOSE ALDAMIZ AIRPORT
On January 19, the Holy Father lands at the local airport (situated 7 km west of the city), called Jose Aldamiz to honour a Spanish missionary with that name.
This name resonates in Madre de Dios’ regional history, where he used to be the provincial vicar of the Dominican Congregation in Peru; he founded Madre de Dios radio station in 1957, the first catholic radio in the country. Since 1960, when he got his pilot license, he used to take students and merchandise from the missions to the indigenous populations in need in a light aircraft. Aldamiz died on 24 December 1966, when his plane crashed due to bad weather, while taking native students to the Purus area.
2.- MADRE DE DIOS COLOSSEUM: ENCOUNTER WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
The Pope will have an encounter with indigenous peoples of the Amazonia at Madre de Dios colosseum,
which houses approximately 4,500 people, distributed in three levels among an area of 11 thousand square meters.
Here, the Holy Father will dialog with representatives of different Amazonian peoples and at the same time will participate in a socio-cultural activity which will be held under the frame of the Laudato Si encyclic.
3.- JORGE BASADRE TECH INSTITUTE: FRANCIS AND THE PEOPLE
The Pope will meet the people of Puerto Maldonado and pilgrims coming from different parts of the country, as well as from Brazil and Bolivia at Jorge Basadre institute. This educational institution, created in 1984, covers about 10 Ha, seven of which will be used to gather 100,000 people expected to congregate in prayer and to receive the Pope’s blessing.
4.- PRINCIPITO HOME: FRANCIS SPENDS TIME WITH KIDS
The Holy Father encounter with a group of boys, girls and teenagers from the region, living in vulnerable conditions, will take place at noon at “Principito” home, which belongs to APRINIA, an association for children and teens protection, founded in 1966 by Swiss priest Xavier Arbex. “Principito” was inaugurated in January 2005 and is at present the home of around 40 kids
5.- APAKTONE PASTORAL CENTER: THE POPE MEETS REPRESENTATIVES OF NATIVE PEOPLES
At the end of his visit to Puerto Maldonado, Pope Francis will have lunch with some representatives of the Amazonia at Apaktone Pastoral Center. Apaktone, in harakbut language (an indigenous town) means “old father”. It was named on behalf of Father José Alvarez, a Dominican priest who came to Peru in 1917 and carried out evangelic work to defend the rights and the life of Amazonian peoples around the region. His beatification process started in 2000.
The history of this pastoral center started in the 90s, when Dominican missionaries Hermogenes Garcia and Rufino Lobo were working with Christian peasants. They saw the need to build a center to accommodate community members for their pastoral formation, among other goals.
Pope Francis’ Visit to Peru
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