© Aid to the Church in Need

JOURNEY WITH ACN is  our weekly newsletter regularly posted to our blog and designed to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world – and various projects we have helped to bring into being together with ACN benefactors.

This week:   Venezuela

Child’s Bibles and Rosary booklets for children in Carúpano 

In Venezuela Christians make up 94.3% of the population, and Catholics 85.1%. However, relations between the Catholic Church and the Venezuelan government have not been easy in recent years. Under Hugo Chavez, there were many attacks on individual churchmen and on Church properties – including nationalization of the latter in some cases. Chávez – whose avowed role model was Fidel Castro – repeatedly accused the Church of manipulating the people and interfering in politics – a stance seen by Church observers as a reaction to the fact that  the Church was seen as sympathetic towards the opposition.

The so-called “Socialism of the 21st-century” proclaimed by Chávez initially functioned basically as a market economy, but soon became conspicuous for the dominant role of state owned companies. The successor to Chávez, Nicolas Maduro, is continuing with the same economic policy. Despite its massive oil wealth, Venezuela is still a poor country today, and the number of those in extreme poverty (i.e. earning less than $1.25 a day) actually increased last year by three quarters of a million people. One third of the economic output of the country comes from the state-run oil production, while in some coastal regions – such as the diocese of Carúpano – people also live in part by fishing and by tourism. This widespread poverty is likewise a challenge for the Catholic Church, which seeks to help the people, both materially and spiritually.

© Aid to the Church in Need
© Aid to the Church in Need

The Diocese of Carúpano, which was formally established only in the year 2000 by Pope John-Paul II, has a high percentage of children. Consequently, Bishop Jaime José Villarroel attaches particular importance to the education of children in the Faith, and he is delighted that this aspect has developed so strongly within his diocese. Here in Carúpano the Church has already worked with the publications of ACN, which have helped her to enrich her catechetical work by presenting the life of Jesus and Mary and the basic prayers and principles of the Catholic Faith in an accessible and child friendly manner. Now the bishop is asking for additional copies – 10,000 copies each of the ACN Child’s Bible ($13,000), the children’s Catechism ($17,600) and the Rosary booklet ($4,880), along with 200 poster sets – to be distributed in the 22 parishes and five vicariates of his diocese. These publications will also be used for the diocesan youth days. With your help it will soon be possible for every child in Carúpano to have a copy of the Child’s Bible.

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