Sunday, March 4, 2007

Fargo priest’s work in Peru honored by Peruvian President

Sitting in a south Fargo coffee shop Thursday, the Rev. Jack Davis realizes it was exactly 32 years ago that he arrived in Chimbote, Peru, to begin his mission work. The Diocese of Fargo priest has spent far more time in the impoverished, desert city than in his snowy home state, leading Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a parish of 33,000.

In these three decades, he’s seen Chimbote’s poverty level worsen, “from poverty to extreme poverty to misery,” he said. But the little results – a house being built, an individual getting an education – help Davis keep his faith. His relentless work in providing housing, education, nutrition and medical services in the city of 400,000 has not gone unnoticed – here or abroad.

In November, Davis, 63, was awarded the Medal of Honor by the president of the Peruvian congress.

“For me, it’s a national recognition. It says the Peruvian government recognizes our work among the poor,” he said.

Locally, Davis’ mission receives broad ecumenical support. Los Amigos del Padre Juan (Friends of Father Jack) is one of the largest registered nonprofits in Fargo.

Its most recent annual report filed with the secretary of state’s office shows contributions of $1.3 million. [...snip] In-Forum

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