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: East Timor
Success Story: 10,000 Child’s Bibles for East Timor
Father Werenfried van Straaten, the founder of ACN, had a heartfelt wish to provide something like a Child‘s Bible to children all over the world. For as he said, “Children need something like a child‘s Bible, so that the image of Christ can become a living one in their hearts.”
He was aware however, in most countries these children were so poor that they could never do more than dream of such a thing. Moreover, in many languages there were no translations of anything like a Child‘s Bible at that time. And so, he decided, with the help of our generous benefactors, to make a gift of just such a “Child‘s Bible“ to children all over the world.
The current version, entitled “God Speaks to His Children” has now been published in more than a total of 50 million copies and in over 170 different languages. Among the many different languages in which this Child‘s Bible has been published, is Tetum – one of two official languages in East Timor – which is today one of the most Catholic countries in the world with a percentage of almost 98% Catholics.
Ranked 128th out of 187 on the Human Development Index, it is a very poor country where 37% of its 1.2 million or so inhabitants live below the poverty threshold. However, in this small island nation, the Church is flourishing – and she is also very young, with over 60% of the population aged 25 or less. “On Sundays, in the towns and villages, you can see almost everyone on their way to church. And on weekdays, when Mass is celebrated as early as 6 a.m. on account of the heat, entire classes of schoolchildren still attend. You can sense people‘s openness to God, especially among the children.
The Salesian Fathers, who run more than 50 primary schools in East Timor asked ACN for help in printing 10,000 Child‘s Bibles in the Tetum language. Now the books have been delivered to the children – to their great joy! The Salesians and the children want to thank all our generous benefactors, who helped with $10,985 for this project. So now indeed “the image of Christ can become a living one in the children‘s hearts.”