Ecuador:  1993-2010

In 1993, Scarboro accepted the invitation of Monsignor Victor Corral Mantilla to work in the Diocese of Riobamba, Ecuador. The previous bishop, Monsignor Leónidas Proaño, known as the bishop of the Indigenous, fought for justice, equality, and dignity for the Indigenous peoples who for generations had lived as slaves on the estates of the large landowners.

When the Scarboro team arrived in Ecuador, Bishop Proaño’s work was beginning to bear fruit. The Indigenous who had been voiceless were now actively participating in the church and through a new seminary for Indigenous young men. They also engaged in political change through organizations such as the Indigenous Movement of Chimborazo and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE). The poor of Ecuador were creating a new understanding of church and were committed to living as witnesses to the Gospel. Through Base Christian Communities, they gathered to reflect on their struggles and to better their lives in the light of their faith.

In supporting the people’s efforts, the Scarboro team of priests and several lay missioners worked in diverse areas of ministry: community health care; pastoral work with the aged and infirm; adult education to urban, rural and indigenous communities; organizing and working with women; formation of indigenous and mestizo priest candidates at the new seminary; the education of children; parish work; collaborating in community economic development programs; and community and eco-tourism development in the Puruhá Indigenous communities on the snow covered slopes of Mount Chimborazo.

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