Cajamarca (Fides Service) - The Vicariate of Jaen in north eastern Peru includes two zones: the farming districts of Jaén and San Ignacio in the department of Cajamarca and the forest area including Bagua and Aramango districts of Condorcanqui province and Imaza district of Amazonas province. The area is 32,572 sq km. The population is 480, 257 of whom 373, 800 are Catholics.
For pastoral activity for the mission of the Church in these communities which have different languages and cultures and are difficult to reach, local catechists are indispensable. Forty years ago the Vicariate opened a training centre for catechisis and lay leaders. In these decades the Centre has trained no less than 1,615 catechists to teach the faith in distant and isolated areas which have resident priest. The vicariate also promotes programmes for development. At present 66 special workers and being trained with courses in environment protection and development to improve living conditions.
Sr Armida Santiago who directs the Centre said that in view of the important role they will play in the local community Catechists receive prolonged and serious training. Besides attending courses in theology they take part in retreats and prayer vigils to promote their spiritual growth and help them live the Gospel and comunicate Christ to others through witness. (RZ) (Agenzia Fides 26/7/2005 - Righe 22, Parole 301)