„MWI scholarships enable the future leaders of the church in Africa and Asia to acqire the knowledge they will need in thier future roles. There is hardly any way to help more directly and more personally than by supporting a scholarship holder.”
Cardinal Walter Kasper
Celso Larracas' exceptional life begins in a small village in the Philippines. At the age of thirteen, he already has to work hard in order to make his contribution to the modest family income. Despite these adverse circumstances, he graduated from school with good grades and then successfully completed his education as a civil engineer.
In 1990, he receives the news that the Franciscans in Thailand are looking for a volunteer, who expertly supports the construction of a new prayer center. Celso Larracas gets the job - the subsequent year in Thailand changed his life: he was deeply impressed by the spirituality and lifestyle of the Franciscans.
When he returned to the Philippines, he joined the Order and became a solemnly professed friar on May 26, 1995 in Manila. Subsequently, he worked in poor urban communities in Manila for eight years and was involved in the pastoral care for indigenous people.
In 2003, he was sent to Libya. Nearly 100 percent of the population there is made up of Muslims. He took care of the few Christians who mostly originate from sub-Saharan Africa and who are living as workers in the oil fields or in the desert. During his regular visits, he offered them spiritual and pastoral services. He also cared for the students and refugees, who were in this region.
After dictator Muammar-Gaddafi was overthrown, the situation beacme increasingly threatening and confusing. He thinks back to the year 2014 with horror. He was threatened with a gun when his car was stolen, he was asked at a checkpoint to get down from the bus, and he had to spend fearful hours in a dark cell, in a place called Sabha he was kidnapped and nearly killed.
Now, has finished with the Islamic and Arabic studies at PISAI in Rome, supported by the MWI, and he became a mediator between the religions. Fr. Celso hopes that he will find ways and means to overcome the obstacles and to achieve peace and reconciliation.