54th Annual Peru Mission Dinner to be held at Duquesne

Wednesday, October 02, 2019 - Updated: 3:23 pm

By JOHN FRANKO Staff Writer

The 54th Annual Peru Mission Dinner will be one to remember as it will honor the life-giving, life-sustaining and life-affirming ministry of the diocese’s medical missionaries in Chimbote.

This year’s dinner will be held on Thursday, Oct. 24 at a new location — the Charles J. Dougherty Ballroom at Duquesne University. The reception is at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner at 7 p.m.

“When you witness the compassionate and modern healthcare service that goes on there in the name of Jesus and the Blessed Mother, delivered through the generosity of the people of Pittsburgh, you can’t help but be touched and your life changed,” said Dr. Pat Joyce, recently retired director of the diocesan Office for Stewardship, who was recently named by Bishop Zubik to be a member of the board of the Chimbote Foundation.

Honored guests will include Dominican Sisters Margaret Mary Birchmeier and Lillian Bockheim, who co-founded the Center for Social Works with the late Msgr. Jules Roos in 1966; and Msgr. John Kozar, a priest of the diocese who has been an advocate of mission work on a national level.

The dinner is one of the principle means of support for the Center for Social Works, which consists of a maternity hospital, outpatient clinic, clinical laboratory, pharmacy and home for abandoned children. It also sponsors a home-visit program aiding “the poorest of the poor.”

There are no administrative costs associated with the dinner. All money raised goes directly to the mission.

In addition, the evening will celebrate the 100,000th birth at the maternity hospital. Recent mission teams will serve as dinner hosts and be witnesses of the “Bridge of Love and Hope” that links Pittsburgh with the people of Chimbote.

“We’re hoping that they can tell the story of the mission in a real way to those who haven’t been there,” said Dolores Nypaver of the Office for Stewardship.

Among them is Deacon Frank Szemanski, a veteran of several mission teams. He pointed out that the dinner celebrates the compassionate work of the Center for Social Works, made possible by the generosity of its supporters.

“It’s a wonderful beacon of hope in Chimbote,” he said. “When people drive by they know good things are coming from it.”

He also noted that the dinner highlights the broad outreach of the diocese that people often don’t see. It focuses on work that lets the less fortunate know that they are more than just a number, they have a name which makes them human.

Deacon Szemanski said that he has been heartened by the number of young adults who have taken part in recent trips. Nine college-age students were members of this year’s teams as recipients of the Mike Clark travel award. 

“Their lives will be changed by the experiences that they’ve had,” Deacon Szemanski noted.

WTAE-TV’s Clark, a longtime friend of Chimbote, will once again serve as the master of ceremonies. He will be joined by Chimbote Ambassadors from Catholic schools and religious education programs, who will display fundraising programs at the reception.

Some 620 attended last year’s dinner, the second highest attendance ever. Nypaver noted that it was a tribute to the generosity of faithful who recognize the compassionate work of the mission, its team members and its student ambassadors.

More information on the dinner and the Chimbote Foundation can be found at www.chimbotefoundation.org, by phone at 412-456-3085, or by e-mail: chimbote@diopitt.org. It can also be found on Facebook — Chimbote Mission Dinner.

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