By Sallyann McCarthy
CLINTON — It has been four years since Clinton’s Jesus Christ Prince of Peace Parish formally established its sister-parish relationship with a new parish in the northern highlands of Peru.
The Clinton parish will launch its third pilgrimage to the Peruvian parish with an informational meeting at 2 p.m. Feb. 8 in St. Boniface Hall, 2520 Pershing Blvd., Clinton. The pilgrimage is scheduled for June.
The pilgrimage is open to everyone “with a pilgrim heart,” said Mary Jo Dopson, a parishioner and Peru Task Force member. Also the manager of Clinton’s Gateway Travel, Dopson accompanied the first two pilgrimages and made all travel arrangements.
Prince of Peace initiated its sister parish program shortly before launching “Building Peace” — two major fund-raising campaigns to finance construction of Prince of Peace’s new church, set to open this spring.
“We begin a new adventure in building peace, not only at home but also abroad!” wrote Father Anthony Herold when he announced the sister parish project. “We want to learn as much as we can about our brothers and sisters in Peru — their faith, hopes, dreams, joys, challenges and sorrows.” Fr. Herold, Prince of Peace pastor, led a pilgrimage to the sister parish, La Virgen Pura y Limpia, in 2007.
Prince of Peace also has helped its sister parish with several building projects, including an upgrade of a house for the resident pastor. The Sapillica parish comprises 46 villages and is served by one pastor, one deacon and seven-member pastoral teams in each village. The villages are typically an hour’s drive apart over rough, mountainous terrain. Prince of Peace also raised money to put a new roof on the parish church in Sapillica.
Now the Clinton parish’s Peru Task Force focuses on raising funds to provide health care services to the Peruvians. “The lack of clean water in most villages and the difficulty of reaching medical personnel due to distance and expense contribute to a dire situation when illness strikes,” Dopson said.
This year’s trip is limited to six participants. “That is the maximum number our sister parish can accommodate at one time,” she explained. “And we plan our pilgrimages for every two years so as not to strain their capacity. They are such wonderful hosts!”
For more information, call Dopson at (563) 242-1025 for details.