Bishop who ministered to indigenous Peruvians dies at 84

Bishop Miguel Irizar Campos. Credit: Diocese of Callao.
Bishop Miguel Irizar Campos. Credit: Diocese of Callao.

.- The bishop emeritus of Callao, Peru died Sunday at the Deusto Passionist community in Bilbao, Spain, where he had resided since 2015. He was 84 years old.

Bishop Emeritus Miguel Irizar Campos “was characterized by a missionary personality,” said a communique from the coastal Peruvian Diocese of Callao, responding to the prelate’s death.

“Callao will remember Bishop Miguel Irizar as a pastor close to his people and faithful to the mission, with his episcopal motto 'Sent to give the Good News.'”

The Diocese of Bilbao, where Irizar lived out his last years, described the bishop as a man who was able to fit in anywhere. During more than 50 years of service in Peru, including 17 years ministering to the indigenous population in the jungle, he proved himself to be a “people’s pastor,” the diocese said.

While in recent years his health had declined, Irizar’s Passionist brothers described the late bishop as “optimistic and a person close to others.”

Born May 7, 1934 in Spain's Basque country, Irizar was ordained a priest March 16, 1957 at the shrine of the Virgin of Aránzazu, where his mother had consecrated him to God years before.

He arrived in Peru in 1960 and began his pastoral work there at the Virgin of Pilar parish in the San Isidro district.

Between 1961 and 1965, he was professor of the Social Doctrine of the Church and Ethics at the Catholic University of Peru. From 1969 to 1972, he was the Regional Superior of the Passionist Congregation in Peru.

Blessed Paul VI named him the Missionary Bishop of the Yurimaguas Vicariate (Upper Amazon Province), and he was consecrated a bishop on July 25, 1972.

Pope John Paul II appointed him in 1989 as Coadjutor Bishop of Callao, the diocese he took full possession of on August 17, 1995.

Irizar promoted the creation of new parishes and founded the first monastery of Discalced Carmelites in Callao. He ordained more than 100 priests and received seminarians from other ecclesiastical jurisdictions for formation in the Heart of Christ diocesan seminary.

The bishop also promoted the Pachacútec Foundation, through which the Center for Community Studies and Development was created. Today, thousands of low income children, youths and families benefit from the center’s large educational complex.

Irizar was the Secretary General of the Peruvian Bishops' Conference for two periods. He also served as president of Caritas Peru, and a member of the Cor Unum Pontifical Council, and headed the Council of Latin American Bishops’ ecclesial movement section.

Bishop Irizar’s funeral was celebrated Aug. 20 in the parish of Pasión and San Felicísimo in the Deusto district of Bilbao. Local Bishop Mario Iceta presided over the Mass.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Tags: Peru, Catholic News, Bishop