This article was translated by John R. Bopp
A few weeks ago, we dedicated a detailed article to the amazing feats of the Basques in the Peruvian Amazonia. It was not a feat of conquest or discovery, but rather of service, commitment, and determination. It’s the story of the 106 years of the Basque Passionist presence in the jungles of Peru.
Today, we bring you an interview with Jesús María Aristín, the bishop of the Vicariate of Yurimaguas. This is part of the series of events to pay homage to the Basque Passionist fathers who worked in the jungles of Peru, on the anniversary of the death of another bishop of Yurimaguas, Miguel Irizar, all of which was organized through the Limako Arantzazu Euzko Etxea.
The first thing we must remember is that Yurimaguas is a missionary bishopric that has always had a Basque Passionist Bishop at the helm since its creation in 1921:
- Atanasio Celestino Jáuregui y Goiri, C.P. (1921 – 30 August 1957)
- Gregorio Elias Olazar Muruaga, C.P. (31 August 1957 – 25 March 1972)
- Miguel Irizar Campos, C.P. (25 March 1972 – 6 August 1989)
- José Luis Astigarraga Lizarralde, C.P. (26 November 1991 – 17 December 2016)
- Jesús María Aristín Seco, C.P., since 17 December 2016.
We aired the interview today during our broadcast in the Atsalde pasa program on Onda Vasca and on the blog. It was aired the day after the second edition of the Day of the Diaspora, when we remember all those Basques over the centuries who have left their homeland behind. This year, missionaries played a starring role. If the Basque Diaspora has never been remembered and taken care of by our society here at home as they have the right to be, then the people who left on missions are among the most forgotten and invisible group.
Carrying out this interview was an amazing experience, and for us, as we always say, it’s a way of paying back a small part of what we as a society and we personally feel we owe this congregations, as well as all Basque missionaries who have taken the best of our Homeland to the world.
We highly recommend giving it a listen. It will help us understand so much about the present and to discover the great things a handful of Basques did over there, determined to create a better world that was inhabited by people free of the chains of misery, people with dignity.
We can only thank Monsignor Aristín for his kindness and patience. We hope to be able to again walk the path of the Basque Passionists between the port of El Callao and Yurimaguas through the desert, the Andes, and the jungles soon. It was a trail of sacrifice and hope, and even today it is an adventure.
His final invitation is not something to take lightly. We can’t think of a better “gap year” for young Basques who’ve finished their studies here to go discover another world where their knowledge is a blessing, and where they can put what they’ve learned into practice. We’re sure it would be the year they’ll feel most useful.
Photo: Hermandad de Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu de Lima