On the 4th of April 2019, I was given the news that the Pope had appointed me Bishop of the Prelate of St. Jacob Apostle in Huancane. I was ordained bishop on the 22nd of June 2019.
It goes without saying that this news, changed my life completely. I was faced with new and different opportunities; to love more, be more empathic towards the needy, be present and serve better.
This year as a pastor, taught me a lot. To listen more, be kind, be compassionate towards the failings of others, and that we all need God in all His grace, to help us face our daily lives.
Apart from visiting every corner of the Prelate, throughout the past year I also came to know well every priest within my community. Together, we were close to the people, to serve as a ray of light and hope in their moments of trouble and darkness. My long journeys led me to communities, who were always willing to love and serve God. Communities, filled with a missionary spirit to serve others.
The most beautiful experience I have had so far was when visiting the families in their homes. These people live in poverty and lack material things, however their hearts are pure and noble.
In my opinion, life in Huancane is totally different than the one I have lived and experienced, over the past 20 years, in Arequipa. Over here, people are poorer, yet more humble. These beings taught me that no one is poor, because in the eyes of God we are all RICH and WEALTHY, because we are his beloved children. Unfortunately, the impact of the virus interfered with our systems and progresses. We were no longer able to be physically there for each other, or simply greet each other with a handshake. Nevertheless, we were given the opportunity to love more, help and be closer to the poor and needy.
Even so, when I look back I realise that it was a year, rich in Spirit and love amongst our community members. A year full of heavenly graces, in which I felt accompanied and carried by our Holy Mother, whom I feel continuously uttering: “Don’t lose hope, be brave, I am with you always and will never leave your side.”
A big thank you goes to you, dear Maltese and Gozitan benefactors, because together we were an instrument of hope for these people. As they have told us: ” You were with us and helped us in the hour of trouble,” and this was only possible with your generous help.
Mons. Giovann Cefai MSSP