“Out of the crowd there came forward, like a young Moses in the midst of his people, the warm and personable Peter Opeka.” So describes Cardinal Franc Rode in the foreword of Jesús María Silveyra’s new book, Padre Pedro: Apostle of Hope, from Virtualbookworm.com Publishing. This work is a tribute to the life and ministry of Father Peter Opeka, known to the people of Madagascar as Padre Pedro.
Silveyra begins by recalling the day he first read the name of Father Opeka in a newspaper article. The priest was being recognized for his efforts to reduce poverty in his country; the headline credited him with “[Rescuing] 17,000 Africans from the streets.” This caught Silveyra’s attention, so he continued to read. Having only recently published a novel about a political figure who endeavored to accomplish a very similar goal, the author was especially excited to read that the priest would be visiting Argentina. He determined to extend Opeka an invitation to be a guest on the weekly radio show hosted by the Silveyra family. At the time, Silveyra had no idea of the impact that this “man with a beard and curly hair” would have upon his own life.
Within 314 pages, Jesús María Silveyra provides a look at the lives of not only Father Opeka, but the priest’s parents as well, detailing a handful of the events that led the man to become called to a life of sacrifice through his ministry. He also shares his firsthand experiences from a visit to Father Opeka’s country in which he was fortunate enough to take part in the priest’s work.
Opeka has received numerous awards from churches, governments and various organizations, including the Kiwanis World Service Medal. Compared with Mother Teresa and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, his nominations are strongly supported by such diverse personalities as Vatican’s Cardinal Franc Rode, Albert II of Monaco and American astronaut and author Dr. Jerry Linenger.
“Padre Pedro: Apostle of Hope” is available in softcover (ISBN 978-1-60264-986-6) from Virtualbookworm.com, Amazon.com, and Barnesandnoble.com. This book can also be ordered from most bookstores around the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. More information can be found at the book’s official U.S. website, www.padrepedro.net.