JOURNEY WITH ACN is our Friday newsletter which will be regularly posted to our blog.
Our weekly newsletter was designed to provide us with an opportunity to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world – and with some of the projects we have been able to realize together with ACN benefactors.
This week: Ethiopia
A simple house for the priest in a remote outstation of the parish of Itang
The apostolic vicariate of Gambella lies in the extreme west of Ethiopia close to the border with South Sudan. It is a remote and underdeveloped region, where there is great poverty. Many of the children here are visibly undernourished. The Catholic Church is greatly welcomed in this region. Many people say to the priests, “When the Catholic Church comes, everything becomes fruitful!.” And they remark with wonder, “Wherever the Church is, there is water. The government gives us bad water, but the Church brings good water. We love your God; please come to us also!.”
In fact the Church not only brings water, but hand mills for grinding corn; sets up kindergartens and support in agricultural matters. The Church also seeks to promote reconciliation between the tribes since bloody feuds erupt on a consistent basis, especially between the tribes which practise cultivation and those which live a pastoral, nomadic lifestyle. The flocks come and eat the farmer’s crops, and the farmers take over the grazing lands of the pastoralists.
In the village of Puol, the people would like the Church to be present with them. However, this village is in such a remote area that one could literally say it is at the other end of the world! The “road” leading to it is difficult to negotiate even in the dry season. And when the river Baro, floods its banks in the rainy season leaving the village in total isolation for up to 4 months of every year. The people cannot even reach the neighbouring villages. During the wet season the only way that Father Desalegn Desale, their priest, can reach them is by motor boat.
Thanks to help from ACN, a chapel has already been built in the village and was consecrated at the beginning of this year, 2013. The Catholic faithful meet here for Holy Mass, for prayer and religious instruction, for educational programs and other activities. Over 120 people in the village are preparing for baptism for until recently, they simply sat under the trees when the priest came.
Father Desalegn Desale travels regularly from the town of Itang to these remote regions in order to visit and minister to its people. But given the poor state of travel, it would make things so much easier if he had a place to stay in Puol where he could stay for several days and minister much more effectively to the people in Puol and the surrounding villages.
The good Father has turned to us for help. Traditionally, the people in this region build huts of wood and mud. But although cheap to build, such huts quickly deteriorate as a result of the rain and the floods and the termite activity. Consequently, there is a need to build something more permanent. We are hoping to be able to help with a contribution of $36,000, so that a simple and modest house can be built for the priest and the parish.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very blessed Christmas and joyful New Year. May 2014 be one of Peace in our world.