By Anne Marie Amacher
A delegation from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf took part in a mission trip to Arequipa, Peru, in June this year. The delegates visited the parish’s sister chapel of Our Lady of Reconciliation, along with several other sites in the area. The two parishes have partnered since 2010.
Cathy Thennes, parish nurse at Our Lady of Lourdes, was among the participants. She said they met with the chapel’s current pastor, Padre Alberto Rios, and coordinator, Lucila Cabana. The Lourdes delegation gave the Peru group 1,000 handmade rosaries with Spanish instructions created by Lourdes parishioners, Spanish Bibles, assorted religious necklaces and medals, personal and dental care products, hair accessories and toys.
The delegation also brought a donation from the Diocese of Davenport of a chalice and paten set, liturgical bells, cruet set, ciborium and a crystal lavabo set. Private donations provided holy oil containers and case and a chalice from the family of the late Father Ignatius Ecklkamp, OFM.
During the mission trip, the delegation saw the chapel’s new roof, for which Our Lady of Lourdes parishioners raised funds. Other improvements made through the Bettendorf parish’s donations included updated electrical wiring and lighting, Thennes said.
The next project the Peruvian parish envisions is an addition to the chapel that includes a kitchen, restroom and meeting rooms. Estimated cost for the project is $23,275.24, which includes a roof.
Fundraising has already begun, Thennes said. Lourdes raised $2,700 during a parish festival last month at which items from Peru were sold. More Peruvian items will be sold during Advent.
As part of its mission in June, the delegation visited the medical clinic located on the back side of the chapel. The clinic offers medical assistance, pediatrics, psychology, dental and pharmacy services. It is open six days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and serves around 40 people each day. The biggest need at the clinic is an ultrasound machine, Thennes said.
Some delegation members made a visit to a high school retreat sponsored by Christian Life Movement, to San Juan Apostle School which serves the poor, and to a nursing home.
Padre Rios and other pastors who have served the chapel are members of the Society of Apostolic Life. The chapel is supported by the Society of Apostolic Life, the Solidarity in Action (SEM) social program, and the charity branch of the society, Thennes said. The two groups are responsible for seven chapels, two educational institutions, day nurseries, St. Vincent de Paul Home for Elderly Women, the medical clinic and a free meal site in the Arequipa area.
Thennes invites other parishes in the diocese to consider joining Lourdes in supporting an outreach group of Society of Apostolic Life. “We are asking all parishes in our diocese to consider adopting one of these charitable and apostolic endeavors alongside us.
“A small amount of assistance goes a very long way in Peru.”
For more information or to get involved, contact Thennes at (563) 359-0345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.