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International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need

 

ACN News – Pakistan: Acquittal could be close for Asia Bibi, says family

09.10.2018 in ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN NEWS, ACN PRESS, ACN United Kingdom, By John Newton, By John Pontifex and John Newton, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Pakistan, Persecution of Christians

Pakistan

Asia Bibi: acquittal could be close, says family

 

The family of a Christian woman fighting a death sentence in Pakistan believe the country’s Supreme Court may be on the verge of announcing her acquittal.

 

The court yesterday (Monday, 8th October) referred judgement in the final hearing in the case of Asia Bibi, whose conviction for blasphemy is on appeal.

Speaking on behalf of Asia Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih and daughter, Eisham Ashiq, Father Emmanuel Yousaf said the Supreme Court’s decision could be announced within a few days.

Father Yousaf, who is with Eisham and Ashiq Masih in the UK for events organized by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, said: “Although the judges didn’t give a judgement, this has happened in many cases of this kind in the past – and they still ended positively.”We will have to wait a few days but we are confident that things will go well.”

Asia Bibi, a Catholic mother of five, in 2010 became the first woman in Pakistan to be sentenced to death for blasphemy. During yesterday’s final hearing of the case in the Supreme Court, there was a protest outside, calling for the death sentence to be upheld but proceedings ended with a verdict still pending.

Fr. Yousaf said: “There is no decision – we are hanging in the air – but God willing it will soon be over an

d [Asia Bibi] will be back home with the family.”

Throughout proceedings, Asia Bibi has insisted that she did not insult the Muslim Prophet Mohammad, which carries the death sentence under Section 295 C of Pakistan’s Penal Code.

Renewing calls for prayers for Asia Bibi’s release, Fr Yousaf said: “We have prayed 10 years now for our sister, Asia, and I am confident that our prayers will be heard, and the judgement will go in favour of Asia, her family and the entire Pakistani Christian community.”

He added: “[The judgement] may come tomorrow. It may come after two or three days but I am sure it will be favourable.”

“Everyone who believes that the Blasphemy Law has been misused time and time again should pray for Asia Bibi’s release, regardless of their faith.”

 

ACN Project of the Week – support for Sisters in Ukraine

29.08.2018 in ACN International, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Catholic Religious Sisters, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Redemptorists, Sisters, SUBSISTENCE, Ukraine, Ukraine

Ukraine

Support for the life and ministry of four Redemptorists Sisters in Lviv

 

In the 1930s a dozen or more Ukrainian girls travelled to Belgium to prepare for the foundation of the first Redemptorists convent in their home country of Ukraine. However, it was not until 80 years later that this dream was finally fulfilled. The outbreak of the Second World War, and the subsequent Soviet tyranny made their return impossible, and believers faced decades of persecution by the communists. It was not until 2016 that three Redemptorists sisters finally succeeded in establishing the first ever Redemptorists convent in Ukraine.

 

The Sisters had to start from zero, initially establishing their convent temporarily in a family home. They worked hard and long to cultivate the wilderness that had grown up around the house. Soon after, another professed Sister would join them, but remains in Poland for now and another a young candidate is also in the picture. Meanwhile, the convent has been granted formal permission to admit young women who wish to consecrate their lives to God, and there are already a few interested. But they will have to wait for some time, because the house is only able to accommodate eight people.

A number of ordinary Catholic faithful come to pray with the sisters at regular prayer times and other liturgical celebrations. Many come seeking the prayers and counsel of the sisters and a sympathetic ear to listen to their problems.

The sisters are grateful for their vocation and overjoyed that the long awaited foundation in Ukraine has finally become a reality. Nevertheless, despite their frugal lifestyle, it is very difficult for them, as enclosed religious, to support themselves in Ukraine, especially against the background of sharply rising prices.

 

We have promised them $3,000 for the support of their life and apostolate.

 

Are you in inspired by this projects supporting seminarians? If you would like to help create more projects such as this, simply click to donate.

 

ACN Press – A courageous witness for interfaith dialogue

22.06.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN PRESS, By Mario Bard, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Interreligious Dialogue, Journey with ACN, Nigeria, Persecution of Christians, Services de Traduction Julie Bourbeau

Canada
A courageous witness of dialogue

Montréal, Friday, June 22nd From June 8th to 14th, Aid to the Church in Need Canada had the good luck and pleasure to welcome a direct witness to the persecution against Christians, who, for close to twenty years, has been a passionate advocate of interreligious and interethnic dialogue, Msgr. Ignatius Kaigama.

Msgr Kaigama after Mass in Toronto

 

“This man is endowed with incredible strength,” says Marie-Claude Lalonde, ACN National Director. “Despite all of the reasons he has to be angry, he preaches peace with his words and his life choice. He chose the nonviolent option, which was not obvious given his personal story.”

 

Msgr Kaigama gives a Homily at Saint Patrick’s Basilica in Montreal

In fact, during meetings held in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Gatineau and Montréal, Mgr. Kaigama revealed that his tribe was affected by a previous jihad in 1804. Later on, in 1892, several members of his tribe were assassinated or enslaved, historic events not well known in the West. ” It was Fulani shepherds – Muslims – who attacked the stronghold where my tribe had sought refuge,” recounted Mgr. Kaigama. “I would have every reason to be angry.” In addition to his family story, the archbishop found himself at the heart of an episode of rare violence, right after the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

 

Marie-Claude Lalonde, Msgr Kaigama and Mgr Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal

Creating dialogue

When he was named Archbishop of the Diocese of Jos in April 2000, Mgr. Kaigama thought that he would be able to catch his breath. “I thought I would be able to rest,” he told us. The fact is, since February 3, 1995, he had spent a lot of energy in creating a new diocese, Jalingo. But in September 2001, this town of the Middle Belt caught fire, even though it has the reputation of being in a moderate environment, in a Nigeria that is split in two: the Muslim North and the Christian South.

Following the September 11 tragedy, the town of Jos caught fire. In 10 days, more than 1,000 people were killed. “My people were killed, my church burnt, my house destroyed, the vehicles we were using to go to remote and difficult places were all burnt. I always tell people that no one should be angrier than I! When my church was attacked, 14 people were killed; I saw their bodies at my feet. I should be the angriest person,” he repeats. But I said to myself: ‘When you are angry, you are hurting yourself most of all. Let’s find a way to talk.’ And that’s how I got into the dialogue, calling on reasonable Muslims and leaders [from all walks of life] to sit together and find solutions for every situation: what can we do to avoid crises? How can we get our people to embark on constructive dialogue when there is a problem so they don’t get into hostile confrontation?”

 

Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa with Archbishop Kaigama of Jos

Being a credible witness

Msgr Kaigama continues to be misunderstood by several of his compatriots and co-religionists. After all, not many Christians would dare to sleep at an Imam’s or pray at a mosque with Muslims or even attend a wedding. Some find it too weak, others, naive and a waste of time in a fight they consider already lost.

 

“In Africa [for the last few years], the seeds of discord and distrust have been sown, especially in Nigeria … where the Sharia was implemented in nine States,” he stated. “However, as a Christian, my duty is to do what Jesus asked me to do: He is the Light, the Truth and the Life. If I cannot follow his path, I have no reason to be what I am. I always tell my people: ‘Let’s get back to the origins [of our faith]. Following violence, the young people come to us, especially the religious leaders. They say: ‘Buy weapons for us!’ So I say: ‘If I have to fight with weapons, what does the Word ‘I give you my peace, I leave you my peace’ mean. I tell them that it’s not my mission. Even if it’s difficult – [especially] when someone has lost their father, their mother, their whole family – we try to pacify them and call on the government to do something about it.”

 

Msgr Kaigama with Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto

Msgr. Kaigama continues his work in favour of dialogue in Nigeria. He is one of the founders and promoters of the Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace Centre, located in Jos. In October 2017, he organized an interreligious prayer for peace with other religious leaders.

“We are keeping Msgr. Kaigama in our hearts and pray that his work bears fruit!” says Ms. Lalonde. “I invite our benefactors to pray for him and his mission, trusting that God can bring peace to even the most hardened of hearts. For Mgr. Kaigama, the words of the Gospel ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you’ make sense.”

 

Archbishop Kaigama with the ACN Team in Montreal, including volunteers!

ACN Project of the Week – Mass Offerings for priests in Quetta  

06.06.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN

Pakistan

Mass Offerings for priests in Quetta

 

Since 1948, a conflict has been dragging on in the state of Balochistan between the Pakistani government and rebel groups who are fighting for the autonomy of this province situated in Pakistan’s southwest region.

 

Supported the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan, Baloch rebels are demanding an independent Balochistan causing ordinary people to live in a constant state of fear. In some areas, every building has a separate rear exit as a means of escaping violence.

 

As the largest province in Pakistan, with an area of around 136,000 square miles (347,188 km²), Balochistan is almost the size of Germany and covers almost half of Pakistan‘s entire territory. At the same time, Balochistan is the most sparsely populated province in the country, with just 8 million people. Some 30,000 are Catholics, half of them live in the provincial capital of Quetta, the rest are thinly scattered across the entire region.

 

Working in the midst of violence

In Quetta itself, there are numerous checkpoints. In many areas of the city, you can only travel with a special permit, which must be requested several days in advance. Even the bishop cannot travel freely and is subject to constant police checks. His cathedral, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, is in the same area as an army barracks. Which means that a special permit is required to enter.  That means that in many cases,  the Catholic faithful are not able to attend Holy Mass. Bishop Victor Gnanapragasam himself requires a special permit in order to gain access to his own cathedral and has to call the authorities in advance every time and request permission. He is stopped repeatedly and searched by security forces at the checkpoints.

For these priests, none of whom belong to the Baloch ethnic group, the situation is becoming increasingly difficult. At one time they could travel anywhere, but today the parameter area within which they can move freely is becoming ever smaller. Because of the fighting between rebels and government forces, many places are completely off-limits. “As soon as the fighting stops, we endeavour to visit our Catholic faithful,” says the bishop. “In doing so, however, we risk being killed by landmines and rocket propelled grenades. It saddens us greatly that we cannot visit the people more frequently.”

The Mass Offerings you give ACN are of huge help to the bishop and his five priests in Quetta. We were able to send them Masses to a total value of $15,150. These Masses will be celebrated for the intentions of our kind benefactors. Thee offerings you have made will help them carry out their ministry in these difficult and dangerous circumstances.

But part of the reason the priests cannot regularly visit many places is also due to the vast distances. Some Christian communities live as much as 800 or even 1000 km from Quetta, which of course means that every journey is very expensive too. The fact that many of the Catholic faithful live scattered across this vast area of the province in very small communities is a major difficulty for them.  In one town there may be perhaps three families, in another just one, in another perhaps four, making it extremely hard to establish any kind of regular Church life.

 

Thank you !

 

To make a donation for a similar project – please click to donate!

 

ACN News: Nigerian Archbishop to visit Canada

29.05.2018 in ACN Canada, ACN PRESS, Africa, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, By Mario Bard, Faith, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Interreligious Dialogue, Nigeria, Nigeria, Translated by Amanda Griffin

ACN CANADA

A visit from Msgr. Ignatius Kaigama to Canada
A word of hope amidst violence and persecution

Montreal, Tuesday May 29, 2018 – Aid to the Church in Need Canada (ACN) will welcome Msgr. Ignatius Kaigama this coming June 8 through to June 14 to Canada.   The archbishop of Jos in Nigeria, capital of the Plateau State and city situated at the very heart of the area regularly suffering the effects of violence that is being described now, less as a struggle over territory and more as the desire to Islamicize regions that are mainly Christian.

What we are observing in certain regions of Nigeria is alarming,” says Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of ACN Canada, situated in Montreal.

“I am anxious to hear Msgr. Kaigama, a long time partner of ours, speak to us about the complex and difficult situation lived by the people in this region, the Christians in particular.”  This region – called the ‘Middle Belt’ because it is situated directly in the middle of the country – divides Nigeria in half: the southern half holding a Christian majority, and to the north, a Muslim majority.

“Some recent reports lead us to believe that there may be an attempt at Islamization of the majority Christian regions situated in this belt.  The coups, the massacres, the displacements and the theft of land leave thousands of people, many of who are Christians, without any resources.”

The city of Jos where Msgr. Kaigama has had a seat since 2000 was the theater of similar affronts in 2004.  Since, this man who currently presides over the country’s Catholic Bishops Conference has become an ardent defender of dialogue between Christians and Muslims.  If religious fundamentalism is one of the main reasons for violence, the Archbishop has no trouble speaking out regularly against a lack of means to fight efficiently against a mounting extremism. There is no educational system worthy of claiming an effective defense of minorities. Moreover, the welfare situation is endemic at over 14%.

Msgr. Kaigama in the Sanctuary of “Lourdes Grotto” Santiago, Chile 2016. Praying for peace in Nigeria

A first visit to Canada

Msgr. Kaigama has expressed that he is “very happy about this first visit to Canada.” And despite some very serious problems in his country, the archbishop also has a great desire to convey “a note of hope” to all the people who will be coming out to hear him speak.  “A Christian must always live in hope, while continuing all the while to live and struggle so that the world becomes a just and human place.”

This recipient of the Golden Dove in 2012 for his work in promoting peace and interreligious harmony will be visiting Vancouver on June 8 where he will have a public engagement at 7:30 at Karol Wojtyla Hall.  June 9, he will be in Toronto where he will preside at Mass held at 5:00pm at Saint Michael’s Cathedral.

The following day, June 12, he will be visiting Saint Clare’s parish at 11:00am, will preside over the Mass, and will be available to meet with people directly afterwards.  On June 11 and 12, he will be in the country’s capital and will celebrate Mass at Ottawa’s Notre-Dame Cathedral.  Once again, the following day, the public is invited to meet him at the Diocesan Centre in Gatineau.

Finally, on June 13 and 14, he will end his visit in Montreal where he will celebrate Mass at at Saint Patrick’s Basilica on June 13 at 5:15pm. The following day, he is inviting the public to come and meet him at the Atwater Library for a conference beginning at 7:30pm.

For more information and for the addresses of the meeting places and parishes, please visit ACN’s website acn-canada.org/kaigama/

Or call:  1-800-585-6333.

*Given by the Italian organization named Istituto di richerche internazionali Archivio disarm.


 

ACN Project of the Week – Bangladesh

23.05.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Bangladesh, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Project of the Week

Bangladesh

A chapel built for a village

The population of Bangladesh is close to 90% Muslim.  The Catholics only constitute a tiny minority of 0.2%.  The faithful belong mainly to ethnic minorities, making them thus a sort of double-minority.  Last year, Pope Francis’ visit brought them a little extra encouragement.

Close to 80,000 Catholics live in the Mymesingh diocese, located in the northern part of the country.  The Catholic faith only arrived in the region a mere 125 years ago.  Most people who were baptized were practitioners of traditional religions.  These people worked to deeply ingrain the Good News of Christ into their lives and practice their faith very deeply and with great intensity. The Church has become their adopted home.

The village of Digolbagh has 200 Catholic families and is situated about 3.2 kilometers from the Bhalukapara missionary station.  Despite the somewhat short distance from people who live in the city, the village is quite isolated.  It has been Catholic since 1924, but has not yet erected a chapel.  Father  Peter Rema  has invested a great deal of effort into his parish’s spiritual well-being. So he has asked us to help him build a chapel so that Catholics can finally gather to pray.

Already, the faithful are making great sacrifices to make this project a reality, but they are too poor to collect the funds necessary for the construction.  That is why we would like to help them with an amount of 15,000 dollars.

To make a donation which will go to support a similar project – please click the ‘donate’ button.


 

ACN Project of the Week – Venezuela

16.05.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, South America, Venezuela

Venezuela

A  pastoral centre for youth in La Guaira

Venezuela is descending ever deeper into crisis. The people are desperate and bitter, violence is growing, the murder rate is rising, many souls are seeking refuge and solace in drugs. The Church stands strong by those who are suffering and tries to give them hope.

In these difficult times, Bishop Raùl Biord Castillo of La Guaira, who is based in the northern part of the country, would like to strengthen the pastoral ministry. Seeking a means to do so, he has asked himself the following question: “What does God want for us?”

Venezuela, La Guaira, 2018
Msgr. Raúl Biord Castillo, Bishop of La Guaira with the faithful.

The bishop is particularly concerned about the country’s young people. Youth groups have already been set up in several parishes and a number of spiritual movements assist in youth pastoral ministry. Their goal is to address the issues that deeply concern young people and accompany them on their spiritual journey, in the hopes of integrating these young people into the spiritual life of the community and deepening their faith.

Spiritual vocations are to be promoted as well. The pastoral ministry needs to take the differing needs of each social environment into consideration, because young people face different problems depending upon whether they grew up in rural areas, in cities or in the suburbs. The young people range from university students to young workers, and so there are countless difficult circumstances that need to be addressed, such as drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution, street children, violence, crime, and the incarceration.

Some parishes do not have any place to hold the youth programs and often lack people able to devote themselves to this apostolate. For this reason, the bishop wants to set up a “school for group leaders” housing it in a former convent which they would convert into a meeting place, thus killing two birds with one stone! The facility could be used to train group leaders and youth groups from parishes that do not have a suitable place to meet could use the building for retreats and a range of pastoral activities.

Venezuela, La Guaira, 2018
Mgr. Raúl Biord Castillo, Bishop of La Guaira with youth.

The chosen location of the facility is ideal because it is situated in the mountains where temperatures are not too hot and a beautiful panoramic view acts as balm to the soul. The demand is great; the facility is already almost fully booked! Unfortunately, only groups of maximally 20 people can use the facility as it is now. Once the renovations are complete, it will accommodate up to 80 overnight guests.

 

Aid to the Church in Need would like to help hope flourish by setting up this facility in support of the young people who will benefit from it!  If you would like to contribute to this project – simply click the donate button and select the ‘Project of the Week’!

 

 


 

ACN Project of the Week – India

08.05.2018 in ACN Canada, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, India, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need

India

Financial aid for the formation of 31 aspiring priests

Good news has come to us from the diocese of Sambalpur in the eastern Indian state of Odisha: the number of vocations to the priesthood has seen continuous growth over the last few years! This is because the diocese has launched an active vocation apostolate in the schools, introducing young people  to the idea at an early age. As part of the program, the priests read them stories from the Holy Scriptures in which someone is called by God. After the tenth grade, any boys who feel called to the priesthood then enter what is known as the “minor seminary”. For three years, while working towards their university entrance diploma, they grow into the spiritual life and examine whether this is the right path for them before enrolling in seminary.

 

At the local seminary, 31 young men are currently preparing for ordination to the priesthood. Although it is a great joy to have so many vocations, it is also a daunting challenge for the diocese as the state of Odisha is one of the most impoverished regions in the country, and Christians are one of the poorest and most disadvantaged groups of peoples. This means that the aspiring priests come from destitute families and the other members of the parish are also too poor to support them during their formation.

 

Living within a spiritual community is something that first needs to be learned

Therefore, the diocese must pay for everything the seminarians need: housing, clothing, shoes, food, medical care, educational materials… The costs are rising and the seminary is dependent upon aid from outside of the country.

It is important that the seminarians receive a good education on all levels: they should have a solid foundation of knowledge, be well developed spiritually and in prayer and have achieved a certain level of maturity. Therefore, in addition to their studies, it becomes essential that they receive help in their spiritual development and are able to establish a dynamic prayer life. However, living within a spiritual community is also something that first needs to be learned.

To gain practical experience in pastoral care, the priests in training spend their summers in different parishes, in remote villages and in the slums. They visit the sick, pray with families, teach the children catechism, hold Bible studies with adolescents and lead devotionals. This teaches them about life in the communities and allows them to grow into pastoral ministry. They take part in retreats and religious exercises to strengthen them in their spiritual life and their vocations. Once a year, they spend three days with the bishop and the priests of the diocese.

ACN has donated $14,000 to allow the seminarians to continue their priestly formation for another year.

 

You would like to make a donation in support of seminarians or a similar project?  You can do so simply by clicking ‘Donate’.


 

Central Africa Tuesday’s attack: The number of deaths increase

04.05.2018 in ACN France, ACN International, ACN PRESS, Africa, Africa, Central African Republic, Central African Republic (CAR), Emergency Aid, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Julie Bourbeau

Photo: Father Albert Toungoumalé-Baba

Central Africa Tuesday’s attack:

Number of dead increased

The attack on the parish of Our Lady of Fatima in Bangui, the capital of Central Africa, on Tuesday, May 1, reportedly killed more than 20 people, including Father Albert Toungoumalé-Baba. Initially, it was already known that 15 parishioners and Father Albert had been killed. Father Albert, who we met during an ACN delegation (it says AED) trip to Central African Republic , asked us for our continual prayers for peace in his country.

 

On May 1st, violence broke out once more in the Central African Republic. In the capital of Bangui, a group of armed men attacked the parish church of Our Lady of Fatima. Sixteen people were killed during the attack, including Father Albert Toungoumalé-Baba, and around one hundred people were injured. The fighting continued in the afternoon, costing two more Central Africans their lives and resulting in a fire that burned down a mosque.

Central African Republic, November/December 2015: Father Albert Tongoumalé-Baba, St Joseph Mukasa parish priest (on the left) with HE Mons Nzapalainga.

The archbishop of Bangui, Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, rushed to return to the Central African Republic today to make a statement about the attack. The people are still suffering from the aftermath of years of conflict and are now afraid that this will bring about another bout of violence.

In a statement released by MINUSCA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic) on May 1st, the member states of the G5 (United Nations, African Union, Economic Community of Central African States, European Union, France and the United States) condemned “without reservation the attacks on the Church of Our Lady of Fatima and the mosque of Lakounga,” pointing out that “the manipulation of religion to serve the interests of criminal groups is not acceptable.” They called upon Central Africans to “resist this manipulation, the goal of which is to drive the country back into the trap of violence and vengeance.”

 

Honouring Father Albert, “a man of peace”

ACN would like to honour the life’s work of Father Albert Toungoumalé-Baba, the priest of the St. Joseph Mukasa parish in Bangui. Father Albert worked tirelessly for peace in his country and gave shelter to thousands of refugees in his parish. In a short video from an interview ACN held with him in 2016, he says, “Our country has been a country bruised, in distress, since December 2012. Weapons have not yet managed to stop the war, but continue to be heard. … No one has been able to bring peace back to the country. Pray, pray unceasingly for us, as Jesus taught us. Do not despair. May this message be heard by all who love peace.”

Text and Informations: ACN-France

 

EMERGENCY AID:
Aid to the Church in Need will give over 37,000 dollars for the victims of Tuesday’s attack.
Thank you for donating by clicking the button below.
Thank you!

 


 

ACN Project of the Week in Central African Republic

03.05.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Central African Republic (CAR), International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Religious publications

Central African Republic

Printing thirty thousand copies of the New Testament in Sango

 

The Central African Republic has been a country in crisis since it gained independence in 1960, with one coup after another. Its population has been terrorized by an unending stream of armed groups that although they may have gone by different names, always committed the same crimes: looting houses, burning down villages, abducting innocent people, raping women and girls, and killing. In 2013, a bloody civil war broke-out and large parts of the country have since remained under rebel control until this day. The government has done nothing to intervene, abandoning their people to an awful fate.

 

The only help the general population receives comes from the Church. The Church cares for orphans, the poor and the sick. It runs schools and hospitals and, in its convents, monasteries and missions, provides shelter to refugees whose houses were burned down by rebel groups. Time and again, priests and religious risk their lives to protect defenseless women and children from armed assailants. Priests have been taken hostage and several have been killed. Many more have been threatened at gunpoint (see news from May 2 on FIDES).

Central African Republic, diocese of Bangassou, 14.04.2017
Fr. Yovane Cox and the faithful during procession of the Way of the Cross

Putting the country back together is not only a matter of rebuilding houses and institutions that have been destroyed through the conflict. But first and foremost, the hearts and conscience of the people requires strengthening and renewal.

 

Central African Republic: A baptism in the Bouar Diocese

The country only has hope for a future if hatred is overcome and a new leaf turned over through reconciliation and forgiveness. Believers must also gain a deeper understanding of the Good News of Christ. After all, two thirds of the population may be Christian, but a belief in witchcraft is still deeply rooted in many places and superstition is widespread.

 

The archbishop of Bangui, Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, believes that it is essential for the people to have the opportunity to read the Holy Scriptures themselves and to immerse themselves in their message. Translated copies of the Bible into the national language have now sold out and need to be reprinted. The cardinal considers this one of the most pressing projects of all.

 

ACN would like to help by giving $56,000 to print 30,000 copies, in Sango, of the New Testament for the people of the Central African Republic.

 

 

 

 

Please click to support a similar project!