Category: 09


Father Joe asked to leave for Peru, requesting to work among the poor. Cardinal Juan Landázuri Ricketts assigned him to a group of 8,000 earthquake refugees who eventually settled around Lima on land mapped out for a military industrial complex. It was just rock, sand and dirt — “Like the moon,” Fr. Joe says — but they named it Villa El Salvador, City of the Savior, and it instantly became a town. It also became Father Joe’s parish.

Inscription at the site of Cristo Salvador Parish, the first church established by Father Joseph Walijewski in Villa El Salvador, Peru, which reads ‘Place where Mass was celebrated on December 24, 1971 by Cardinal Juan Landázuri Ricketts recognizing Padre Jose Walijewski as the first pastor. In attendance were: nine children, five women, two men, and fifteen dogs.