|Vatican – Delivery of the “Position” of the Servant of God Bishop Octavio Ortiz Arrieta|
|Peru – Inauguration in Cusco of the “Michele Magone” Hostel|
|Perù – Giving thanks for 120 years of Salesian presence|
(ANS – Piura) – Recently the Salesian centre in Piura completed 106 years of activity. From the first days of their arrival in the city, the Sons of Don Bosco continue to devote themselves to the education and the evangelisation of the young. For the occasion Francisco Rosas Castillo, a Salesian-Cooperator, provided a record of the origins of the historic Institute in which thousands of young people have been made welcome.
In Rosas Castillo’s account one reads that in 1900 the Hon. Juan Hilarión Helguero, with some other politicians and the parish priest Fr Manuel Ríos, say the need to invite the Salesians for the scholastic and professional formation of the young. This coincided with the promulgation of a law that every city had to have a School of Arts and Trades to form manual workers, skilled workers, technicians in the professions of the working classes.
There was a swift response to the request sent to Turin and on 19 February 1906 the first three Salesians arrived in Piura: the clerics Maximiliano Mayer, Octavio Ortiz and Daniel Carpio; they were accompanied by the Provincial Fr Ciríaco Santinelli and the confessor Fr Francisco Gioanola. The three young Salesians were welcomed with great enthusiasm to a house put at their disposal by the Hon. Helguero himself, who gave the land on which a new building was later erected.
The founding Director of the Institute was the cleric Octavio Ortiz Arrieta. Enrolments in the first year were 120 and shortly afterwards the workshops were opened for woodwork and shoe-making and a school band started, blessed by the parish priest Fr Arístides Pita. The following year 1907, numbers went up and a tailors’ workshop was opened.
The earthquake on 12 July 1912 was a severe blow to the Institute and improvised workshops were provided to continue the school activities. Shortly afterwards Fr Octavio Ortiz, now a priest began the construction of a building on Freedom Road which in the following years was extended by his successors as they bought more land and started new educational courses.
The most important stages in the development of the Salesian work in Piura were: the building of the Institute on Freedom Road, the Church of Mary Help of Christians, the founding of various oratories in nearly districts, the founding of the Bosconia Social Assistance Work and the “Mary Help of Christians” Vocational Training Centre. Many young people trained in the Piura school then chose to become Salesians and among the past pupils there are several Bishops and public Officials in the city and in Perù. The first Director, Fr Octavio Ortiz Arrieta, was later appointed Bishop of Chachapoyas.
106 years after the arrival of the Salesians in Piura the charism of Don Bosco continues to bear fruit. The Salesian Family is represented by the Salesians, the Daughters of Mary help of Christians, the Salesians-Cooperators, the Volunteers of Don Bosco, ADMA, the Damas Salesianas. There are many young people being educated to be “ good Christians and upright citizens” involved in social work.