Peru represents another major undertaking of the Missionary of St. Paul. This mission started when the late Mgr Redent Gauci (O.Carm), asked for help for his prelature of Chuquibamba in 1968. That year the first three MSSP missionaries arrived. This mission is now over 50 years old and has expanded considerably to now include a parish and a formation house in the capital Lima, the original parish of Aplao in the Majes valley of Arequipa, and a number of parishes in the Alto Cayma District on the outskirts of Arequipa. These parishes cater particularly for migrant communities of Peruvians descending from the Andes mountains and trying to find a better future in the city of Arequipa.
Throughout the years, the Paulist Missionaries have played crucial roles in the spiritual and social developments of these new communities. From the years of military rule to the difficult years of terrorist activities, to major economic downturns, the Society has always moved with the people and their needs. On the ground, this meant that as years went by, MSSP missionaries have moved further up and out on the peripheries of Arequipa assisting with primary medical care, educational institutions, food programmes for the needy and the elderly, literacy programmes for adults, development programmes and legal aid for women, and many other activities with the support of many local and international benefactors.
The Vida y Compassion programme tries to reach out to people in need by establishing the right structures and programmes for what is needed by the population. On the community level, in the past few years, the MSSP members decided to build a house where all members serving in the parishes of Alto Cayma could live together, so as to build more of a communal experience and support each other in their ministry.
Peru, as a country is a country which is rich in natural resources yet poverty still abounds in particular sections of the population and especially in the context of internal migratory flows. This is where the Missionaries of St. Paul are to be normally found. The ministries nowadays include also retreat centres, and the formation of laity in groups which bear the imprint of the MSSP Charism, the Familia Paulina. Currently, the mission is manned by both Peruvian and Maltese priests.
Right at the time the MSSP was celebrating its 50th anniversary in Peru in 2018, the Church in Peru entrusted the newly erected Prelature of St. James the Apostle of Huancane, bordering Bolivia, to the Missionary Society of St. Paul. This new responsibility also brought with it the ordination of Mgr Giovanni Cefai mssp as the first MSSP Bishop. Situated in the altiplano between Bolivia and Peru, this new prelature extends for hundreds of kilometres of terrain and is home to around 200, 000 people, most of them native Aymara speakers. This new mission heralds yet another call to be with these communities in their daily spiritual and physical needs.