Peru - "We are part of God's dream for the young people of Peru": interview with Fr Juan Pablo Alcas, Superior of the Salesian Province of Peru

(ANS – Piura) – Fr Juan Pablo Alcas Michilot, current Superior of the Salesian Province of Peru (PER), was born on 17 August 1975 in Piura. Son of Pablo and Bertha, he met the Salesians at the oratory and was invited by Fr Casimiro Iraola to complete his vocational experience in the Salesian work in Piura, while studying accounting at the University. He was a pastoral animator in the Salesian institute in Lima, Rector of the house of formation and, later, of the Salesian house in Rimac. He was also Novice Director in Colombia and today carries out the mission of Provincial of the Salesians of Peru. Thanks to this interview we learn more about his commitment as Provincial, expectations about the Province, the role of the laity and the message he wants to leave to young people and the Salesian Family.

Ten months have passed since the service that the Lord entrusted to him as Provincial. What memories do you have?

I was surprised when Fr Hugo Orozco called me to say: "The Rector Major wants to talk to you." Shortly after my cell phone rang, he greeted me warmly and said, “The General Council and your confreres in your Province want you to be the Superior of the Province of Peru. What do you think? Can I give you some time to think about it and give me your answer?"

“And then what?”

I replied that I was too young to take on this responsibility. The Rector Major, however, added: "I was a Provincial at 39, you are 48, so there is no problem." And so I asked about the novices. "I'll take care of it, don't worry" he replied. Then he asked me: "What do you think, do you accept?" And I said to him, "Fr Ángel, you don't expect me to say no."

How do you feel after ten months as Provincial?

I feel calm and confident in the Lord. I do not deny that there is fatigue and a little pressure, but I am also aware of the prayers of many people, my family and friends. I feel that the maternal presence of Our Lady and my mother are two powerful weapons that the Lord has given me to move forward with strength, as well as the help of the Salesians and young people.

Which way is the Province going?

The direction of the Province was traced out by the Rector Major in June. He gave me the "roadmap" for our Province and it is the one I am following. There is nothing invented on my part, but it is an effort to realise the project of the Congregation along three axes. The first is to revitalise our charismatic identity at the service of young people, to ask ourselves what kind of  Salesians we want to be: the Salesians of dance, of play, or the educator and pastor like Don Bosco was? A second axis: a courageous and daring vocational animation, to arouse in young people the passion to follow the Lord in the style of Don Bosco. A third axis is the reshaping of the works and working in common with the laity.

You have organised a meeting between Salesians and lay people. What can you tell us about it?

It was an initiative born out of necessity and from working with those who are our first collaborators, to continue to be the guarantors of the Salesian charism in Peru. We have read the signs of the times and we are aware that the laity and consecrated persons are part of God's dream for the young people of Peru.

What is the message to the Salesians, the Salesian Family and the young people?

My hope is to realise Don Bosco's dream, to be educators and pastors and bearers of his love for young people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable in our country.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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