Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 21, 2008
Alta. Oblate advocates for global justice
Fr. Piche to lead his order's justice ministry in Rome
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"I always thought that Canada was a just society but I think right now we are just off the path."
While in Peru in March, Piche visited the operations of Doe Run, a Missouri-based mining and metals company that extracts zinc and silver in La Oroya region.
"Father Miguel Cordova who works in the area showed me the farmlands that are been devastated by the pollution of that mine," lamented Piche.
The hillsides Piche saw are barren and sterile because of acid rain. The river is contaminated and its water undrinkable. "On top of that the pollution in the atmosphere and the air that is breathed by the children is killing the children."
The free trade agreement between Canada and Peru will only worsen the situation as more firms move in to exploit the resources, Piche contends.
Piche is expected to move to Rome in September to take over as JPIC director for three years.
The JPIC's main goal is to have an active presence where decisions are made affecting the marginalized. "As Oblates we want to have a say and some influence at the level of where decisions are being taken that affect the lives of the poor in different countries," Piche explained in an interview.
There are currently about 5,000 Oblates of Mary Immaculate working in 67 countries, mainly with the poor.
As JPIC director, Piche is expected to represent the Oblates at the United Nations and to assist provinces with organizing and animating their own justice and peace work.
"The work of JPIC really takes place at the grassroots - as it has in my case - with countless numbers of people working sometimes at the personal level or with others to give hope and combat poverty," Piche explained.
"Sometimes we are able to network with others, either Oblates, NGOs, or other socially conscious groups, to bring about structural change and improve the lives of many so that the poor will realize their dignity as beloved sons and daughters of God."
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