ACN Photo: Arunachal Pradesh, India, diocese of Miao
in the extreme North East, bordering on Burma. Morning prayers in a catholic school.
Mass Offerings for priests in Miao
The diocese of Miao in Northeast India, was established only recently, in 2005. It lies in one of the most remote and isolated regions of the country. Yet, in the midst of all the poverty and destitution present in this area, the priests who work here are witnessing a real flourishing of the Catholic Faith among people who until just recently, had never even heard of the Gospel.
In fact, the Catholic faith only reached this part of the world about 40 years ago. At the time, all missionary work was under a ban and consequently, many missionaries were imprisonned and also suffered greatly for their faith.
Among them were Bishops Thomas Menamparablil and George Pallipparampil, who had sowed the very first seeds of the Catholic faith in this region. Their sufferings, and the struggles they had to endure are now a source of great inspiration for the missionaries who are working here today.
In many parts of this diocese, people had never even heard of the Gospel before the 1990s. Still today, some areas are still so isolated and remain cut-off from the outside world during much of the six-month rainy season when there are many landslides and mudslides; others are practically inaccessible during the harsh winter months.
Much of the diocese is located high in the Himalayas bordering Burma and the people who belong to various different ethnic minority groups, mostly live in extreme poverty without electricity or other basic services.
While the rainy season often brings flooding, the winters bring drought and drying out the rivers. Poor hygiene leads to various forms of infectious diseases and child mortality is high. One corner of the family hut is often used as a latrine, and animals such as pigs and dogs often share the family’s living space which may likely only consist of a single room. The children sleep, play and eat in close proximity to the animals. In most cases the hospitals located very far away in the towns and virtually inaccessible for them.
India, in the diocese Miao 2008
Tezu parish, baptism of Julia and her two sons John and Joseph.
Called to be mercy to all
In some of the remote corners of the diocese, priests have to walk, often for many long hours along difficult mountain tracks in order to reach the Catholic faithful. Their role involves not only proclaiming the Good News and administering the Sacraments, but also practical community development work. Close to 95% of adults are illiterate here, and many cannot see why their children need to learn to read and write. Then there are issues of health care and hygiene… in short, the priests in this region have to be “all things to all men” and attend not only to the spiritual, but also to the tangible works of mercy.
The 98 priests in this diocese also need something to live on themselves. Since the local people cannot support them, ACN has stepped in to help.
On behalf or our benefactors, we are providing Mass Offerings for their subsistence. The 1,960 Mass Offerings requested come with offerings of $22 736 CAN – that represents just $232 CAN for each priest for an entire year.
In return, these courageous priests are happy to celebrate the Masses requested, for the intentions of the ACN benefactors who have given them.
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