Peru - Ricardo: Polish priest who has become "the hero" of a neighbourhood in Peru

16 March 2017

(ANS - Lima) - What Kevin found there was a new family with many siblings. Kevin is a 15-yearold Peruvian who was living with his uncle in an indigenous community in the region of Junín, in the highlands of Peru. After selling the products harvested on his parents’ farm, he used to go to school, about eight hours' walk away. But his life has changed, now he has a family: it is the "Don Bosco Hospitality House" in Brena, Lima.

"We are a family, we are a community that welcomes young people who need a chance" says Fr Ryszard Łach Buksa.

"If they were not here they would likely be on the street, or spend hours surfing the Internet."  A magazine referred to Fr Richard as "Hero of the Neighbourhood." He arrived in Peru when he was 23 and has been here ever since.

The vocation to service which he carries in his heart is one he learned from his mother. She worked in Poland in a nursing home looking after children with tuberculosis. Today he puts that vocation to service into practice every day, looking after a family with 70 members in the Don Bosco Hospitality House where he is the Rector.

Before ending his long days, "Ricardo", as they call him in Peru, goes out into the darkness of the night to meet those who are sleeping on the streets. "This is an enriching experience," he says.

Although many of them come from aggressive backgrounds, when they are offered an atmosphere of tenderness and respect they become new people. "I do not talk about my boys as gang members or potential thieves, although many of them have had that experience," he says.

"The young people themselves always decide what is the best route” he adds. “There are three pillars that remain standing; faith, love and reason. Here we give them what perhaps they have always needed: love."

"Everything they have here, they have to earn. Nothing comes easy. For example, they get work painting, doing electrical repairs or cleaning, and they keep their savings in a bank account set up for each of them. In addition, at our Don Bosco House they learn trades such as baking, pastry chef or craft work," he concluded.



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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