Repair of vehicles for pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Camagüey
The Caribbean island of Cuba is often seen as a holiday paradise for foreign tourists. However, the continuing economic crisis in the country, which has worsened since January 2021, is severely impacting the daily life of Cubans. This is apart from the recent tragic hotel explosion on May 6, which to date has resulted in at least 40 deaths and numerous injuries. This event was devastating for a country whose tourism industry was already impacted, and many of the hotel workers not only lost their livelihoods, but their lives as well.
The Church is also suffering from the difficult economic situation but continues to bring hope and consolation to the people. We have received an appeal for help from the Archdiocese of Camagüey, which is situated roughly in the centre of the country. It has a total population of 818,948, 63.5% of whom were baptised as Catholics. The archdiocese covers an area of approximately 18,671 km² (over half the size of Belgium!), which means that the 28 priests, 37 religious sisters and 16 permanent deacons working there must travel considerable distances to reach the faithful.
However, the vehicles available to the archdiocese are all older—the oldest dating back to 1975 and the rest almost all to the 1980s. The cost of importing new vehicles is prohibitively high, so the solution has been to repeatedly repair these old vehicles. The repairs and necessary spare parts are also very expensive but essential, for without them, the priests and religious sisters would simply not be able to travel to the often remote and isolated communities where the faithful are waiting for them.
The archdiocese has its own maintenance workshop to reduce expenses but is still unable to gather the funds required for all the repairs. To help the faithful receive the sacraments and the Good News more regularly, as well as the tangible support of the priests and religious sisters, we would like to help the archdiocese over the next three years with approximately $60,000 per year towards the necessary parts and repairs so they can continue their ministry.