Earthquake Relief in Pisco, Peru

(Pictorial Report - October 2007)

My name is Fr. Phillip Bloom. I am Pastor of Holy Family Parish in Seattle. When my parishioners heard about the devastating earthquake in Peru, they responded with great generosity. Our neighboring parish, Holy Rosary, also took up a collection to help victims of the August 15 earthquake. In addition friends and members of my family made kind donations. I was able to transfer part of the donations immediately through the Mary Bloom Center. I am currently in Peru where I had the opportunity to visit Pisco, the city closest to the epicenter of the earthquake. The damage is overwhelming, but I was deeply impressed with the work the Vincentian priests and Sisters are carrying out to help people rebuild their lives. I will be transfering the donations to them to help in their work. Below is a pictorial report of my visit to Lima and Pisco during the first days of October.

When I arrived in Lima on October 2, I went to the office of "Caritas" (Catholic Charities of Peru). In their warehouse, they had some boxes of toys collected by Holy Family School children:

Ana Marķa Vasquez gave me an overview of the work being done by Caritas to bring relief to the victims of the August 15 earthquake:

We took the boxes of toys (and the one box of clothes) to a bus station so they could be shipped to the Mary Bloom Center in Puno:

Isaias Roque, from the Mary Bloom Center, helped me with this work. After we finished shipping the toys, we went to the main square of Lima. In the background is the Cathedral, decorated to receive the image of Our Lord of the Miracles:

We met with Fr. Ruben Borda, C.M., provincial of Vincentian Priests in Peru. He gave us information on who to contact in Pisco and how to make the transfer of donations given by Holy Family & Holy Rosary parishioners, as well as family members and friends:

Before leaving Lima, we visited the tombs of Sister Elizabeth Ore and Sister Antonieta Perla. They perished when the roof of San Clemente Church collapsed in the August 15 earthquake.

When we arrived in Pisco on October 3, a number of Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul were present to evaluate the work being done to help the earthquake victims, as well as to assess the damage to their school and convent:

Three of Vincentian Sisters who work full time in Pisco:

With Fr. Javier Gamero. In the background, the demolition of the school run by the Vincentian Sisters:

The earthquake destroyed the factories in Pisco, putting many people out of work. The rebuilding of the city is providing work for young men such as these:

One of the buildings not destroyed by the earthquake was the Sister“s new chapel, which Sor Antonieta had worked hard to build. It was scheduled to be dedicated on Sept 2. The dedication was postponed until Oct 3. Following are pictures of the dedication:

Sister Elizabeth saved the life of this young woman (Solange):

Sister Elizabeth had made it to a safe place when she realized Sister Antonieta was still inside the church. When she went back in, she encountered Solange and told her to leave immediately. The rumbling of the earthquake continued and Sister Elizabeth was struck fatally. Meanwhile, Solange did as Sister Elizabeth told her. Her leg was injured, but she got out of the church alive:

Solange with her classmates. The Vincentian Sisters have set up makeshift classrooms so that some of the students can continue with their courses:

Children at Vincentian school in modular classroom:

Many people in Pisco continue to live in tents:

Vicentian Sisters visiting woman whose home was destroyed in the earthquake:

This woman (Roxana) came to the parish to ask for a tent. Her mother is going in for a hernia operation and she needs a covered place for recuperation after the operation:

Fr. Javier explained to her how she could obtain the tent. They live in a rural community about thirty minutes from the center of Pisco:

Rosa lost her parents and six-year-old daughter in the earthquake. She is shown here with three-year-old son. I am holding pictures of her parents & daughter:

The statue of St. Clement survived the earthquake with minor damages:

The rubble has been cleared away. This is the area where the Church of San Clemente stood:

Fr. Alfonso Berrade, pastor of San Clemente, celebrates daily Mass in a tent:

With Fr. Alfonso and Vincentian deacon, Alex, in the parish warehouse. Deacon Alex will be ordained to the priesthood on December 14:

When we returned to Lima, we went to the Shrine of St. Rose to pray. Here is the Well of St. Rose. Children are writing their prayer requests to drop into the well:


Billings Retreat on Amantani Island

Patients and Students Helped by Mary Bloom Center

Visit to Site of Peruvian Meteorite