Lay Missionaries in Latin America: Part 1

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By Fr John Caruana

Members of the Society of Christian Doctrine (SDC) in Cuba

Providence willed that the visas for three SDC members to enter Cuba were issued on the day when the Society was commemorating the first meeting that the founder, St George Preca, had held with a group of young men in a small house in Hamrun.

Upon completing the introduction programme, the members started working on the final preparations before heading for Cuba. On Wednesday 23rd March 2011, a special general meeting was held

St George Preca – Founder of the SDC

in which the General Superior augured them well and gave them the sign of peace on behalf of all the Society. Superior Joe Buttigieg and members John Carmel Mifsud and Roberto Zammit also shared short messages and reflections.

The members flew to Spain for a short visit and on Monday 28th March 2011, at around 21.00hrs (Cuba time), they landed in Havana. There they found Fr Paul Buttigieg, the parish priest who had been so helpful since the initial stages of this new mission.

Members of the Society of Christian Doctrine (SDC) in Peru

The SDC Centre in Lurin, Peru was officially opened in 2003. Three SDC members were sent some 10 months before to study the language and attend courses in the culture and history of Peru. During this period they resided with the members of the Missionary Society of St Paul (MSSP) in Lima.

They started their mission by rebuilding the house and centre from where they were meant to work. This was originally built by Fr Carlos Azzopardi MSSP who for many years worked hard so that SDC members could establish a mission in Peru. Soon they started their mission by holding on-going faith formation groups for children, youths and adults and gave regular classes during the week for both boys and girls.

The parents of these children were also catered for. The SDC also supported the two year Confirmation Courses held in the parish, worked within the Diocesan Office For Catholic Education, shared responsibility in the running of an Institute of Economics and taught at the local secondary school in Julio C. Tello parish.

They dedicated specific days when girls attend and others when boys attend. During the week-ends in winter, they organise sports activities or outings in the countryside and during the hot months they take the catechists to the sea-side. These daily activities bring together children, adolescents and youths and help them grow in their love of Jesus and in their respect for one another.

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