Lima, Peru, Dec 8, 2015 / 00:04 am
Inspired by Saturday's beatification of the first Peruvian martyrs, a group of young people has launched a blood drive initiative "#DonaEsperanza" in order to "give hope" and follow the example of three priests slain by Marxist guerillas.
The Shining Path Marxist terrorist group in 1991 took the lives of Polish priests Fathers Zbigniew Strzalkowski and Michele Tomaszek and Italian priest Fr. Alessandro Dordi. They were killed in the Ancash region in northern Peru.
The founder and leader of the Shining Path, Abimael Guzmán, confessed that he decided to kill the priests because their evangelization efforts were keeping the people from joining the terrorists' armed struggle. He is now in prison serving a life sentence.
The three martyrs were beatified Dec. 5 in a well-attended ceremony in Chimbote, a port city in Peru's northern Ancash region. Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the event.
Ahead of the beatification, volunteers conducted a blood drive in the Peruvian capital of Lima.
The blood drive organizers' material said blood donation is "in honor of those who shed all their blood." The collected blood is delivered to the hospitals in Lima that are most in need. It is especially intended to benefit poor people.
Roberto Chumbimuni, one participant in the blood drive, said that the Peruvian martyrs "gave all their blood, all their life."
"We're inviting people to give just some of their blood to save other lives," he said.
"These martyrs are known as martyrs or witnesses to hope," Roberto continued. The blood drive aims "to make the people aware that they too can be witnesses to hope for a lot of people that need blood. They need just a small donation through the same attitude of giving life on their behalf."
The first day of the blood drive at Our Lady of Consolation Parish in Lima took place Nov. 29. It was successful, so the organizers are preparing for a second event.