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Urubamba

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(MISIONES DE SANTO DOMINGO DE URUBAMBA Y MADRE DE DIOS)

This prefecture apostolic was created by a Decree of the Holy See in 1899 at the request of the Peruvian Government. On 10 April, 1902, three Dominican Fathers of the Spanish province took charge of the missions, their number being gradually increased to eleven, which is the number at present working there, ten Spaniards, and one Peruvian. Still more recruits for this work are expected, the vastness of the territories and the class of people to be civilized and evangelized requiring a still greater number for the work. All these missionaries are under the jurisdiction of the prefect Apostolic, the Rev. Fray Ramon Zubieta, to whose efforts so much of the progress in civilization, as well as the religious and geographical survey of the Montana region in the eastern part of Peru, is due. The territorial limits of these missions cannot be determined with certainty, but they are about one-eighth of the entire area of Peru. They are bounded on the north by Brazil and Bolivia ; on the south by Puno and Cuzco ; on the east by the Department of the Ucayabi and Cuzco ; on the west by Bolivia. The inhabitants are for the most part savages, numbering about 60,000. The remaining are whites or mestizos who devote themselves to the exploitation of the india rubber industry and commercial pursuits. Some of these have preserved some vestiges of the Catholic Faith, but for the greater part they live in a state of complete indifference. The savages have no religion whatsoever, preserving only a vague sort of superstition concerning a supreme being and a spirit of evil.

These missions, after passing through many vicissitudes and surmounting great difficulties, have been able to establish six stations: in Cuzco, Challabamba, San Jacinto, Sto Domingo, San Vicente, and San Luis. Of these the four last mentioned besides their chapels have free schools, the only ones among the savages. In 1911, 360 baptisms, 241 confirmations, and 22 marriages were registered. The greatest good, however, that the missionary exercises in these regions is to uplift and maintain a moral level among these people, who without him would fall into the most hopeless demoralization. He is the sole representative of right, of humanity, and of religion.

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