in ACN Canada, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Argentina, Journey with ACN
JOURNEY WITH ACN is our weekly newsletter regularly posted to our website and designed to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world and introducing you to various projects we have helped to bring into being together with our partners and ACN benefactors.
This week: Argentina
Success Story: how you are helping the youth apostolate in the diocese of Anatuya
The Church in Argentina, the homeland of Pope Francis, needs our help. The country is racked by political, economic and social crises, and large sections of the population are living in poverty.
This poverty drives many people into the arms of the sects, which lure many people with wealth and fair promises – especially those who are weak in their Catholic faith and not firmly rooted in its eternal truths. Such people can easily fall prey to their promises. This problem is a major challenge for the Catholic Church, and the Church here in Argentina is responding to the challenge, although she suffers an acute shortage of priests and has to cope with the additional difficulty of the vast distances within the individual dioceses.
Some 200 km from the provincial capital of Santiago del Estero, in the arid and infertile northwest of Argentina, lies the diocese of Añatuya, one of the poorest in the entire country. The average income here is just 300 pesos – or $53 – a month, and unemployment is an alarming 65%. ACN has been supporting the work of the Church in the diocese for many years now. The population is only around 120,000, of whom some 85% are Catholics – but they are spread across a vast area of some 68,000 km². The region is infertile and the infrastructure is poor. Getting around is a real challenge, especially in the rainy season. The 33 priests of the diocese are happy if they can visit each parish at least once a month and celebrate Holy Mass there.
A myriad of activities
In these parishes, of course, there are also thousands of children and young people who need to be soundly instructed in their faith. With your help, every effort is being made to reach out to them, through activities in the parishes (such as Los Juríes, Huachana and Tucumán), the smaller communities and in the schools. Youth camps and ‘Olympiads’ have been organized for them, at which basic Christian values are also explored and social problems addressed, such as alcohol and drugs. Their faith was also at the centre of a pilgrimage of 300 young people to Matará, for example, and a festival at the shrine of Huachana, a meeting at Pentecost in Quimilí and a special vocations retreat day for girls in Tintina.
Six times a year there are also three-day meetings and workshops – held separately for boys and girls – to train up youth leaders in catechesis and Bible work. Theirs is a crucial role in spreading the faith, above all given the critical shortage of priests. Another two-day course for 80 youth group leaders also fulfills a similar function. And in Anatuya itself and in Monte Quemado there were large youth meetings.
All these activities and the exemplary organization behind them naturally cost a lot of time, money, food, transport, teaching materials and the like – all of which has to be paid for. Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, ACN was able to give $15,880 towards this program, and now all of them – from the bishop to the priests, down to the young participants – want to express their gratitude. For this is truly an investment in the future of the Church, here in the diocese. “It is incredible to see the young people gathering together, radiating such joy and youthful enthusiasm and wanting not only to share with others and get to know one another but also in so doing to be always aware that Christ is at the centre of everything”, reports one of the organizers. And Bishop Adolfo Uriona writes, “May God bless you and all your benefactors for all the good you have done for the Church in need around the world. I thank you for your solidarity.”
Please click here to donate for this project or to similar ones – in Argentina or elsewhere.
United through prayer for the poor and persecuted Church!