It’s becoming a tradition here on the blog for Jesús María Aristín C.P., the Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Yurimaguas, which has been under the responsibility of the Basque Passionists since it was founded over a century ago, to greet the whole Basque Community around the world on the Day of the Basque Diaspora (here’s an interview with him).
This is one of the ways we like to join in on the celebration that remembers all Basques throughout history who, for reasons of economy, politics, adventury, or solidarity, have left their homeland. They, and with them all Basques, have been the protagonists of so many stories, big and small, which have changed the world. So, to all of them, to those who have left us and to those who are still proudly bearing their Basque heritage around the world, we send our warmest greetings and thanks for taking the best of us to every corner of the globe.
And we send special greetings to the missionaries because, lest we forget, of all the groups that make up the Basque Diaspora, theirs is the only one that went out into the world not in search of a better life but rather to bring a better life to those they went to.
We do so in collaboration with the Limako Arantzazu Euzko Etxea. This is because, in this case, two projects that we’re cooperating on come together. On the one hand, we wish to recognize the work of the Basque Passionists in the Amazon, and on the other, to share some messages and activities on this very special day.
To learn more about the incredible work of the Basque Passionists in the Amazon, as an example of all the Basque missionaries around the world, we’ll bring you some of the ideas we published in an earlier article:
The Passionist community, which has spent over a century working in the Peruvian Amazon. Passionist missionary activity has, since its origins, been led by Basques since the arrival of the first twelve missionaries in 1913. Indeed, since its creation by Pope Benedict XV in 1921, the Apostolic Vicariate of Yurimaguas has had five bishops at the helm, all Basques, including the current one. Neighboring Prelature of Moyobamba was also headed by Basques from its 1953 founding until the year 2000. Of the four bishops it’s had, the first three were Basques, and Passionists.
The absolutely incredible work done by these missionaries deep in the Amazonian jungle can truly be called epic, an epic of Basques committed to a cause.
Aristín who was born in Palencia on December 25, 1954, moved to the San Ignacio neighborhood of Bilbao when he was five. He is a theologian and Clinical Psychologist and, since 1979, a Passionist. Before leading the missions, he was a parish vicar in the Pasión de Bilbao parish, at the San Felicísimo church in Bilbao’s Deusto neighborhood, which is the heart of the Holy Cross religious province. This province spans two continents, and is divided into four areas, the Iberian Peninsula (the Southern Basque Country and Galicia); Mother of Hope (Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador); Monsignor Romero (El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Cuba); and the Andes (Bolivia, Chile, and Peru).
And, as in previous years, we “light” a candle for those who have left us, to remember them, and to help them find their way home.