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Lima – On Monday, September 27th, the diocesan process for the beatification and canonization of Father Luigi Bolla was opened in the Archdiocese of Lima. The Italian missionary of the Salasians Don Bosco was active among the indigenous peoples of Ecuador and Peru. The ceremony was attended by the ecclesiastical authorities of the Archdiocese of Lima, led by Archbishop Carlos Gustavo Castillo and representatives of the Salesians of Don Bosco, although the number of participants was limited due to the pandemic containment regulations. The Archbishop of Lima, who presided over the ceremony, introduced the figure of Father Bolla: he “knew how to understand the harmony between the Gospel and what the Achuar people possessed. He knew how to enter the depths of the language and the heart of the people … he knew how to mediate and educate the people in love and forgiveness. Thanks to Fr. Bolla, violence between indigenous peoples has been avoided on many occasions”.
In the evening, Bishop Martín Quijano, SDB, Bishop of Pucallpa, presided over the Holy Mass together with Bishop Jesús María Aristín, Bishop of Yurimaguas, during which they emphasized that this great missionary “knew how to lead his people on the paths of love and forgiveness”. Father Bolla came to Ecuador in 1953, where he was ordained a priest in 1959. He began by ensuring a presence of the Salesians of Don Bosco in the Ecuadorian Amazon among the Achuar ethnic group. Over the years he took on the indigenous name “Yánkuam ‘Jintia”, which means “Bright Star of the Way”. He learned the language, the customs and was the first to live among the Achuar and to share his life and the Gospel with them.
He succeeded in ending conflicts between warring tribes and families by offering the new generations an education in the spirit of the Salesian charism of Don Bosco. Since most of the Achuar lived in Peru, he moved to the Apostolic Vicariate of Yurimaguas in February 1984, where, despite all the dangers and obstacles, he continued his work to preach the gospel to all Achuar whom he considered his “children”.