The Holy Father elevated Sicuani to the status of a Diocese on September 29, 2020 from the Territorial Prelature that was established in January 1959. It is located in Peru, department of Cusco, at more than 3,359 meters above sea level. It has an area of 17,527 square kilometers and a population of approximately 277,000 inhabitants. The people lack fixed income that allows self-support. There are 33 parishes distributed in four provinces served by 35 priests and 35 religious from different congregations who support the pastoral and social work that were developed.
There is a seminary (Our Lady of Los Andes) that provides training for the young people with vocation. The faithful are peasants who live off the fruit of their crops in a survival economy. During the past year and this year, we have concentrated our efforts on accompanying spiritually and materially the peasants affected by Covid-19.
The Parroquia Templo de San Bartolome in Tinta is a representation of the Diocese of Sicuani, Peru located at the Provincia Alta of Canchis in the Andes Mountain. This is a village of CAMPESINOS or Farmers. The regular crops are Corn and Potato. The Campesinos solely rely on rain for there is no irrigation system. They still plant and harvest the old-fashioned way with the help of a pair of bulls and plows.
The Campesinos plant and harvest mainly for consumption. When there is a bountiful harvest, they trade their produce with other goods they need. This also enables them to send their children to the public schools, celebrate the Annual Fiesta and some families can afford to buy television sets, computers or even cell phones.
The lives of the Campesinos changed drastically last year, due to two main factors: covid-19 and the Hail and Frost. Due to the quarantine protocol, the mobility of the Campesinos was restricted. They could not travel to other towns in order to sell or barter their produce. The virtual classes of the public school caused so many students to drop out because many do not own computers. Some families took loans at a very high interest rate, most especially when a member of the family got sick or died
Even worse, the Hail and Frost damaged or destroyed the Corn and the Potatoes. In order to re-plant, the Campesinos needed to rent tractors, uproot the damaged or dead plants. That also meant a delayed period for harvesting. Some CAMPESINOS hoped that the national and the local government would come to their rescue but the much-needed help never came. Therefore, they asked the Church for help.
In July and October 2020, the Parroquia Templo de San Bartolome received some money from abroad. We were able to pack and distribute food baskets to the badly affected communities. Each family, regardless of religion or political affiliation, received a few kilos of rice, sugar, milk, cooking oil, detergents, etc. That helped the Campesinos but the situation is not getting any better this year.
This is the reason why we are why we are asking for help through the Missionary Cooperation Plan. This will assist us in getting the food baskets once again. We are forever grateful for your generosity. May the Lord repay you greatly.
The Diocese of Sicuani, Peru was assigned to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Chula Vista in 2018 and St. Peter the Apostle Church, Fallbrook in 2019 for Missionary Cooperation Plan. They are assigned to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, San Diego for MCP 2021.
– By Bishop Bustamente Lopez, Bishop of Sicuani and Fr. Cecilio T. Moraga, Parroquia Templo de San Bartolome Tinta, Diocese of Sicuani, Peru.